Aide says Giffords is speaking for first time since shooting

By Abby Sewell
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's simple request this week for a piece of toast for breakfast signaled a milestone in her recovery - because she asked for it with spoken words.

The Arizona Democrat, severely wounded when she was shot in the head at a public event a month ago, has been speaking "more and more each day," said C.J. Karamargin, one of her congressional aides.

Karamargin could not give specifics about the extent of Giffords's speech abilities or when she said her first words, but he said the development points to her fighting spirit.

Experts called it a hopeful sign but cautioned that the development does not necessarily mean that Giffords's recovery of her language skills will be quick or complete. Even for those patients who can eventually recover their full speech abilities, the process can take years.

Giffords, 40, is undergoing therapy in a Houston hospital after being shot Jan. 8. Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has been charged in the shooting, which killed six people and injured 13.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday joined the Senate in approving legislation to name a federal courthouse under construction in Yuma, Ariz., after U.S. District Judge John Roll, one of the six people killed.

- Los Angeles Times

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