AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — 3-year-old Mikey Barone has hit another milestone, and this one is quite funny. He was approved for his passy-muir valve, which allows him to begin to learn to use his own voice.
"It's basically a little instrument that allows him to speak when he's off the vent," Michael Barone, Mikey's father said.
His family was overwhelmed and shocked by his first strong laugh this week.
"We had heard it, but small. This little giggle. This is just like a full on laugh and it's hard not to start laughing. Then you're ready to start crying because this is really the first time you've heard it," Kristine Barone, Mikey's mom said.
The giggles haven't stopped since that moment. He is starting speech therapy lessons to help him discover his voice. The family said before they know it, Mikey will become a chatter box.
"I think with me and Mike he'll get it from both of us," Kristine said.
It's a long way from where Mikey started. He had spent the first year and a half of his life in the hospital.
"There was such a long period of time where they didn't think he would even get himself off the ventilator let alone be able to play and move and breathe on his own a little bit. It's phenomenal seeing the progress he's made," Michael said.
Mikey no longer needs his ventilator during the day. Within the next 5-6 months, he will be completely weened off of it.
So as Mikey celebrates his second Thanksgiving at home, there's a lot to be thankful for.
"I’m thankful for Mikey and I'm thankful for our little family. It's nice to have him with us and to be able to hold him and watch him play. In the beginning, it didn't seem like we were going to be able to make it to that point. We were always hopeful and praying that we would get here. Now to actually be here it seems like a dream almost. It's amazing to me,” Michael said.