Guest post by Denise Klipsic
It was one of those moments that made my daughter, and I feel good inside because of the effort that one beautiful person made to understand our world.My daughter, Abella (5), is non-verbal and likes Disney World on her terms. Her favorite ride is the Disney Buses that take us to and from the parks and the carousel. Otherwise, she likes to see the sights in the park and enjoy it from the comfort of our rented stroller (which we named Happy Chappy).
She doesn’t like the parks at night for fear of the fireworks and the loud noises that come with them, so we visit the parks during the day and try to see as much as we can in the daylight hours.One afternoon when we were visiting my daughter took a curious interest in Princess Tiana from the Princess and the Frog, who was meeting other park guests. She smiled when she looked at her and indicated to me, she wanted to see her.Safe in her stroller, we waited patiently in line to visit with the princess.
Unfortunately, at that same moment the afternoon show was going on at the castle, which was not far from where we were. As it ended, fireworks went off, scaring my daughter. Immediately, she put her hands to her ears in panic mode and indicated to me that it was time to go. I pointed to the princess and asked if she wanted to see the princess still. She only retreated back into the safety of Stroller.
Near the front of the line then, our turn came to see the princess and her prince.As my son visited with them, she watched curiously with her hands still pressed against her ears. After my son got his picture, both Tiana and her prince approached the stroller to say hi. Sensing her fear the prince backed off and let Tiana talk to her a little. She held out her hands to my daughter, reluctantly Abella reached out one hand to touch Tiana as if to say thanks, and then quickly put it back to her ear.
Tiana tried to calm Abella down by talking for a little while and then tried to coax my daughter out of the stroller for a picture.With no luck after a few tries, Tiana came up with a better idea. Instead of trying to ask my daughter to come to her, she came to her. With no regard for her dress, Tiana fell to the ground and got as close to the stroller as she could. She placed her own hands over her ears and smiled for the picture.
The beauty of the moment caused me to tear up. Even as her parent, I sometimes forget that her perspective on the world is different than ours, and often we try to bring her from her world back into ours. However, in this one moment, Tiana’s actions made it clear that it doesn’t have to always be that way, by making herself the outsider and entering my daughter’s Autistic world.
God Bless her and Disney for this beautiful experience.My Daughter became relaxed after their picture, even waving her hand bye-bye to the princess as we left. The rest of the day she was happy to check out other things before heading home. The picture I have attached is from my camera. The Disney photographer was taking the picture from in front of them.