‘Ladybug’ Layla – Batesville student brings ‘good gifts’ to family and friends

Published 3:34 am Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Batesville Intermediate School fourth grade student Layla Robertson Archie loves to sing, dance, and listen to music. Her days are filled with school work, playing with friends, and keeping mom Monica Robertson “on her toes.”

She’s a typical 9-year-old except for the many doctor visits and surgeries she has endured all of her short life. 

Or long life, considering doctors told mom Monica that her precious child couldn’t live past age 3 when she was diagnosed with Microcephaly, a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Despite the condition, young Layla has a full schedule and keeps mom, dad Alex Archie, and grandmother Leona Robertson busy.

Layla recently helped organize a day of events to mark Microcephaly Awareness Day (Sept. 30) at BIS.

Dynamic Wellness Medical Center sponsored a voluntary essay contest for students and provided prizes for the top three essay winners. Layla passed out information cards and made displays for the awareness raising effort.

The essay topic was “What does ‘special’ in special needs mean to you?” Layla’s friends and classmates participated and produced touching essays that were encouraging to the Robertson  and Archie families as well as staff and teachers at the school.

Layla’s mother lovingly calls her “Ladybug” explaining that in spiritual references the ladybug is known to bring good gifts, a fitting description for the vivacious middle schooler.

According to the CDC, during pregnancy a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size.

Microcephaly has been linked to seizures, development delays (sitting, walking, speaking), and certain intellectual disabilities.

Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects.

Microcephaly is not a common condition. Researchers estimate that about 1 in every 800-5,000 babies is born with microcephaly in the United States.


Photo:  Fourth graders at Batesville Intermediate wrote essays as part of classmate Layla Archie’s outreach for Microcephaly Awareness Day and the top three writers were rewarded with prizes and certificates. Pictured are contest winners (back, from left) Destinee Williams, Destiny Ward, and Ka’maya Harris with Dr. Ashley Fonte, principal, and Layla.