Season 8 of 7 Little Johnstons has followed Amber and Trent, along with their five children, amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The show also offered insight into how Elizabeth's ongoing nursing training is going. In the process, fans learned that Emma Johnston has an autoimmune disease — something that hadn't previously been disclosed.
Let's take a closer look at what's going on.
Emma Johnston has an autoimmune disease, an episode of '7 Little Johnstons' revealed.
In an episode of 7 Little Johnstons titled "Did Somebody Shrink You?" — which aired on Jan. 12, 2021 — viewers learned more about how Elizabeth was juggling college and a job. The freshman was studying nursing while working full-time as a certified nursing assistant at an assisted living facility. And in order for Elizabeth to get more hands-on practice, Trent and Amber gave her permission to inject Emma with the medication she takes for an autoimmune disorder.
"A few years ago, Emma was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and she has been undergoing injections," Amber explained. "And normally, I give her the injection. However today, I was like, 'Hey, let Elizabeth do it. She does this at work, she can do it.'"
"I was a little scared for Liz to put my shot in me," Emma admitted ahead of the poke. Thankfully though, Elizabeth's technique was slow and gentle. (It looks like she's shaping up to be an awesome nurse!)
No one elaborated on the specifics of Emma's autoimmune disease on the episode. The issue involving her immune system attacking itself could be one of dozens of disorders, such as Crohn's disease, lupus, Type 1 diabetes, psoriatic arthritis, among others.
Emma Johnston was previously diagnosed with a speech disorder.
In Season 7 of 7 Little Johnstons, Emma paid a visit to a speech therapist in order to address ongoing issues in communication.
“Emma is seeing the speech therapist today, Dr. Tiffany, to help her confidence and her abilities to get up in front of her group at camp and instruct them and just be able to overall lead them during this summer camp,” Amber said during the episode titled "It's a Boy!"
“We have a new adventure,” the mom of five told Dr. Tiffany. “She is going to be a camp leader for an arts and science camp this year. Her older sister, Anna, has been the past three or four years now and Emma’s kind of going to take over while Anna’s going to school. We just want to make sure we’re comfortable.”
During the episode, Dr. Tiffany worked with Emma using a series of flashcards. She asked Emma to say the first word that came to mind (aside from the name of the item itself) in order to help improve her language processing speed and vocabulary.
"It seems to me that Emma's language disorder is related just to neurological, to brain functioning, that she processes information a little slower," the speech therapist explained. "Now we can do brain activities to help with that, and that is my intent — to just help with that brain to speed up."
“It bothers me when I take forever to answer,” Emma told cameras during a confessional. “I know what I want to say, but I just don’t know what the right word is.”
Hopefully, Emma's speech therapy has helped her to feel like she can speak more confidently for herself. And although the Johnstons didn't share a ton about her autoimmune disease, hopefully, Emma's medication is making living with the condition bearable. We're rooting for you, Emma!
Watch 7 Little Johnstons on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on TLC.