Heartwarming footage has emerged showing a two-year-old deaf boy signing the words, ‘I love you’ to his mother for the very first time.
Little PJ, from Los Angeles, California, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic condition that can cause deformities to a person’s facial and bone structure.
PJ was born with underdeveloped ears, causing his hearing difficulties. He has also had to endure five major surgeries during his two years, which have allowed him to breathe, eat and grow normally.
PJ had been out shopping with his mum, Crystal Kouri, when he surprised her by signing ‘I love you’, right in the middle of the supermarket.
Beautiful footage shows the little boy seated in the trolley and spelling out ‘I love you’, all while giving an adorable smile. Completely stunned, Crystal returned the sign to her son, which he then mimicked right back.
You can watch young PJ sign ‘I love you’ to his proud mum in the following clip:
Although PJ can communicate verbally, he’s more comfortable when using sign language. Clearly a quick learner, he already has an impressive working vocabulary of 250 words.
According to Crystal:
PJ has Treacher Collins syndrome, like Auggie Pullman, the fictional character from the movie and book, Wonder.
His condition has caused him to have five major surgeries so far which have enabled him to breathe, eat, and grow normally.
Treacher Collins syndrome has caused PJ’s ears to be underdeveloped, resulting in moderate hearing loss. We began sign language immediately as a way for him to communicate with wearing his hearing aid.
At the age of two, he now has a 250 word vocabulary, both verbal and sign. Hearing him say and sign ‘I love you’ was as emotional and pivotal as the first time he signed ‘mama’. I stopped right there in the supermarket to record him.
The US National Library of Medicine states Treacher Collins syndrome is partially characterised by ‘absent, small, or unusually formed ears’.
Hearing loss will occur for approximately half of individuals with Treacher Collins, with hearing loss caused by defects of the three small bones which transmit sound within the middle ear, or by the ear canal being underdeveloped.
Treacher Collins is believed to affect around one in 50,000 people, and is the result of mutations of the TCOF1 or POLR1D gene.