Before Hope could walk, I bought her a pair of tap shoes. Like so many other moms with beautiful little girls, I imagined her in a fluffy pink tutu gliding magically across a stage and preforming to the roar of the audience.
However, after she was diagnosed with Autism - I hid the tap shoes away. They were too painful to look at. All the doctors and professionals gave me a very grim outlook for her future. I would not allow myself to even consider the possibility of her being able to have the dream of dancing. My little girl couldn't speak or look at me or tell me if she had a belly ache... In my mind, dancing became "labeled" impossible - just like so many other things in her life.
When her therapist suggested this past winter that Hope maybe try a ballet class, I was skeptical - but I trusted her judgment and knew I had to give Hope a chance. (I am slowly learning that I should never underestimate my children - Autistic or not.) So in January of this year Hope attended her first dance class which was a combination of ballet and tap.
From the moment the music started, I witnessed her change - it was as though she was awakened to another world - one outside her world of Autism. The teachers all were amazed at how well she did. She listened, followed directions and she not only realized that they were other children in class with her - but she watched them!! These were all things she had never done before. They all encouraged me to continue, which we have. The dance school she attends is absolutely amazing and allowed her therapist to attend every class with her.
Now, every Saturday she wears those same tap shoes to dance class. And what once was a painful reminder of everything that she would never be able to do - have now become the symbol of all that she is capable of - there is no stopping her.
This past weekend, Hope preformed in her first recital. Something only a year ago I didn't think would ever be possible. We all held our breath to see if she would be able to withstand all the sensory elements of the theatre and actually do her little dance on stage with her friends. When she did, there was not a dry eye among family, friends and dance teachers.
A door to the world outside of Autism has opened. And thanks to a superb dance studio - who are so accommodating to us, amazing teachers & therapists, and the Grace of God, she danced through it.