13-year-old Kaitlyn De Jesus, who mainly communicated using visual prompts, began speaking unprompted to the surprise of her neighbors and mother.
A Florida mom took her autistic 13-year-old daughter to see their neighbor's decorative Christmas lights, and what happened next left her in tears. Speaking to TODAY, Marisabel Figueroa revealed that her daughter Kaitlyn De Jesus was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and since then she hasn't spoken more than two words. "The neurologist who saw Kaitlyn said she was going to be non-verbal for all of her life," recalled Figueroa. "I refused to accept that." Eventually, De Jesus began communicating using visual prompts, however, she could never say more than two words. But this changed on Saturday when Figueroa took her daughter to their neighbor Don Weaver's driveway.
Teen with Autism Speaks for the First Time Ever After Seeing Neighbor's Christmas Light Display https://t.co/55iyiBwjlN— People (@people) 13 December 2019
Every year since 2007, Mr. Weaver had been decorating his front lawn and transforming it into a musical Christmas display that had over 200,000 sparkling light. Of course, this caught the attention of De Jesus, who would visit Weaver's property every day during the holiday month and spend hours looking at the marvelous display. "Our usual routine is to go after 6 when it gets dark," explained Figueroa who is a manager at McDonald's. "Mr. Weaver puts down a special chair just for Kaitlyn and she sits there dancing and tapping her feet."
When the eighth-grader made her way to Weaver's front lawn last week, she expressed her joy with words for the first time. "She got up from the chair and started singing," recalled Figuero according to PEOPLE. "She said, ‘Mom! Look at the blue lights. Look at the snowmen. Santa’s coming!’ I started crying. I couldn’t believe it." It was this incredible moment that Kaityln had waited 10 years to witness ever since her daughter was diagnosed. In addition to Figueroa, even the neighbors present there were taken by surprise when De Jesus went on speaking for so long. "It was the first time she ever talked," said Weaver recalling the incident.
Just beautiful ❤️❤️— Juicee Harris 🤪 (@cici_harris) 14 December 2019
"This woman came over to me and goes, I've never heard Kaitlyn speak," continued Figueroa. "I was like, ‘Well, I’m her mom and I’ve never heard her speak unprompted like that." Describing her daughter as happy but "a bit isolated and quiet", she explained how she never expected the festive display to have such a tremendous impact on De Jesus. "At Mr. Weaver’s house, she comes to life. She’s like this whole new entity," she continued. "If only Christmas could be around all year."