Imagine this… A little girl diagnosed with autism celebrates her 6th birthday – and for the first time in her life is able to have a party with friends – and is completely indistinguishable from her peers – participating typically in every moment of the party. What a special birthday to celebrate!
Elizabeth is an amazing little girl with sparkly eyes who happens to love everything to do with the magic of fairies. She has an amazing little smile and she invites you in to play with her with such joy and delight – telling you all about her fairies and asking you which one is your favorite, and playing with you with such flexibility and ease.
Three years ago, when I first met Elizabeth’s family – she spent most of her time playing alone – inflexible and rigid about what she would play, using only enough language to communicate her basic wants and not demonstrating any interest in her peers.
After two years of a home-based Son-Rise Program, she started school this year – and now has so many friends that she had to be convinced that she had room to invite her sister to her birthday party. For two hours, Elizabeth played games with her friends (in a big room full of carnival-type games), talked to her friends, participated in hitting the pinata, held her friend’s hand while in line for a game, opened all of her presents and thanked each of her friends. It was a truly special day.
So, as Elizabeth blows out the candles on her birthday cake, I am sending a wish to each of you – that you find something extraordinary to celebrate in your children today.