My cousin has two sons. They are both autistic, but at different ends of the spectrum, I guess you'd say. Forgive me, but I have very little knowledge about the specifics of autism so I am sure I don't have the correct terminology.
Anyway, her boys are now 17 and 20. They live in another town, and I haven't seen them in years. But my parents are visiting my cousin's parents, and they told my parents a recent story about the youngest grandson, as grandparents tend to do.
Both of the boys are verbal, but they don't talk much, and especially not to anyone they don't know. But lately, the youngest son, "L", has began to come out of his shell. They are very involved in their church, and L's dad has recently taken over the music minister position. To everone's surprise, L joined the choir.
Recently, they were practicing a new song, and L said to his dad, "Dad, I want to sing this song by myself."
L's dad was pretty surprised of course, and said "L, are you sure?"
And L calmly said yes.
So, they practiced and then the night came. The choir sang their songs, and then L's father handed him the microphone.
And this boy, who rarely talked to most of the congregation, took the microphone and sang a solo in front of the whole church.
The congregation wept. I can't even imagine the pride of my cousin and her husband at that moment! I am so proud of them as parents, and so proud of L.
And one more uplifting story; my friend has a son who has cystic fibrosis. As any child with CF, he has battled his health off and on for years. But today, he graduated from high school! His mother never thought she'd see this day. Graduation is always emotional, but doubly so for her today.
So today I say congrats to L and K!