Every parent beams with pride when their child steps on a stage. And every student lights up with excitement when they see their very own artwork on public display.
Opportunities for special moments like these came for families, staff, and students at the May Center for Child Development’s first-ever Winter Showcase held at the Randolph, Mass., campus. The event featured a holiday and winter-themed art exhibit and musical extravaganza, where students from ages 3 to 22 sang, played, and danced to their favorite songs.
The performances represented significant individual accomplishments and personal courage for students like Josephat. Here are excerpts from his mother’s letter:
Josephat was two years old when he was diagnosed with autism. I was not naive or in denial. I had known that something was “wrong” long before then, and had been pushing his pediatrician for answers for more than a year. Still, hearing that diagnosis was heartbreaking. It made it official. My beautiful, big-eyed boy with the contagious smile was autistic.
Josephat is now nine years old. Over the last seven years there have been many setbacks, but just as many triumphs. I still hold high, albeit different, expectations for my son. I have learned that while autism brings many challenges, it does not limit Josephat’s ability to be happy. Most importantly, I have learned to appreciate the little things.
The Winter Showcase was full of little things to appreciate. There was seeing the beautiful artwork, created by Josephat and other May Center students, that lined the walls leading into the gym. There was watching Josephat on stage with his classmates, banging the drum and dancing around to the music. And, there was listening to Josephat, a minimally verbal child, sing “Jingle Bells,” one of his favorite songs. He was a bit off tempo, but all smiles.
Seeing Josephat so happy is the best thing of all!