I wish I could share more photos than this one. We’ve opened our lives up to you but other families haven’t. So I will share this photo from this weekend’s performance of Aladdin.I can’t even begin to tell you what it’s like to see the bond these kids make in a week that lasts over time other than it is precious and wonderful. These kids who audition together and act together but cheer each other on. They get excited to see each other and keep in touch. For Em, it’s a dream come true. To fit in. To belong. To be wanted.
Em never smiles like she does when she’s with people who understand her and refuse to pass judgement. They see beyond the diagnosis of Autism and the rest. Here… They see Emelie. Nothing More. Nothing Less. She feels free to be herself and finds people care about who she is. Not just who she is but also helping her learn her strengths and overcome struggles.
Thank you for this program Missoula Children’s Theatre. Once again the traveling directors were amazing. Thomson and Jas connected with Em. I felt horrible one day though because all the time Em (the girl who normally advocates for herself) made me tell them she has Autism, they were so concerned. BUT it was FOR her. What did she need FROM them. What they didn’t realize, she’d already told them all that, just hadn’t told them why.
When I went to clear it up later, they were so gracious and kind. And Em loved them as much as she loved the ones from before.
The thing she loves best, she can be herself. There is no judgement. There is only acceptance and the fact that they believe in her ability. They don’t see what holds her back. Only what makes her shine. And when she does struggle, they don’t let it define who she is. Sometimes they may not even be aware of it.
If your community doesn’t bring them in, it’s worth looking into. If they do, support them and the organizations that sponsor the events. While they can’t include every child who tries out or they encounter, they ALWAYS build them up.