She’s a dark-haired girl with dark eyes to match. Her energy seems boundless as her parents, teacher, and classroom aides can attest too. On a good day, she can be the ray of sunshine in her classroom. On a bad day, she is trouble with a capital “T”.
She was born with some strikes against her. Just one of these strikes would be a tall order for anyone to overcome. Her beautiful eyes are blind. She lives on the autism spectrum as I do, but it’s on the lower end. She can let out a good strong scream, but she has yet to utter her first word.
I was subbing at her school, helping out the coach, on the day they had play day for all the students. It was a day of games, food, and fun. A break from classwork near the end of the school year. Her class took part and according to teacher and aides, they all had a blast. I write this to say that children with physical or mental challenges are not immune to having a good time.
The most popular play day attraction for the autism unit class was the water slide. I happened to be passing by it when the teacher and her aides were monitoring their kids on the slide. The kids were getting wet and enjoying it. They were acting as if they were at Disneyland instead of just a water slide at the back of a school parking lot. The games on the other side of the school were too much for some of them, but the inflatables were right up their alley to climb, jump on, and splash on with utter delight.
At the end of the play day, I went to their classroom before leaving school. The teacher showed her aides, the coach, and myself a video of the girl on the water slide. It was a precious moment I won’t soon forget. She was splashing and laughing up a storm like the others. Her laughter has a unique sound that’s easy to distinguish from the laughter of her classmates. I hadn’t heard her laugh so hard as she did in the video.
I didn’t want to think about the bumpy ride ahead of her and her classmates. Instead, I just concentrated on the moment where fear, frustration, or anger was not around. Just utter joy and laughter.
This little girl who can’t see or say “Mom” or Dad” was laughing as if she didn’t have a care in the world. I don’t know if in the future she’ll ever see. I don’t know if she’ll ever say a word or a complete sentence. I do know that at least on that day, her laughter was glorious music to all those who were blessed to hear it.