Aaron had been diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was 2 years old and was just starting to be able to communicate verbally when I started to work with him at 4 years of age. I was his in home therapist and worked with him one on one for approximately 30 hours each week. On a typical day, I would shadow Aaron to the diagnostic kindergarten classroom for 1/2 a day and then would spend the second half of the day working with Aaron on pre-academic, academic, and communication skills at his home.
I loved working with Aaron and watching his eyes light up when he learned something new or was able to complete a task that had previously been too difficult for him to master. One Spring day, in the afternoon, we had been learning about kites and how to fly a kite. As part of that lesson, we were going to go outside and fly a real kite so he could have the experience of participating in that activity.
It was a wonderful day to fly a kite. The winds were blowing and I thought it would be relatively easy to get the kite to take flight. I showed Aaron how to hold the string and kite handle, so I could throw the kite into the air. After several attempts, the kite was still on the ground and a very disappointed little pair of eyes just stared at me. I told Aaron that we would try one more time, but if we couldn’t’ get the kite into the sky; we would have to try another day. I tried again to get the kite into the sky…..Aaron held the line steady, and I tossed the kite up….it came crashing right back down.
I looked at him sadly and said “I’m sorry honey…Maybe we can try again tomorrow”. With a look of disappointment that words will never be able to describe, he looked at me and said, “one more time”. Exhausted, I looked at the sky and just pleaded my case to the Lord up above, “If you have a sense of humor, you will put this kite in the sky!”
With a renewed sense of brilliance in his eyes, I took the kite and threw it into the air. A gust of wind picked it up and the kite took flight! Aaron just smiled this little grin…it was like he knew that this time the kite would take flight! After we got the kite high into the sky, we sat on the curb together and watched it dive and soar. He was so excited, and the laughter and gleam in his eyes was the most vivid I can remember ever seeing or hearing. A photograph that his mother took of us that day sitting on the curb holding the line to the kite still echoes of his laughter in my office today…almost 6 years later.
If it hadn’t been for his plea to try just “one more time”, we would have never gotten that kite into the sky that Spring day. I’ve often thought about how ironic the situation was that Spring day. I was there to help Aaron learn and to teach him to never give up, but on that day, it was Aaron who taught me what it meant to never give up.
* Stories From the Heart is an ongoing series of user contributed heart warming stories, that shine light on the Autism experience.