A Florida mother who took her 13-year-old daughter to see their neighbor’s Christmas lights had no idea that the festive display would have such a large impact on the teenager, who has autism.
Since Kaitlyn De Jesus was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old, she hasn’t spoken more than two words, her mother Marisabel Figueroa told Today.
That all changed on Saturday when Figueroa took her daughter to their neighbor Don Weaver’s driveway — a visit they’ve made daily — to see the elaborate Christmas light display he has set up on his front lawn since 2007.
“She got up from the chair and started singing,” Figueroa recalled to the outlet. “She said, ‘Mom! Look at the blue lights. Look at the snowmen. Santa’s coming!’ I started crying. I couldn’t believe it.”
The incredible moment was something Figueroa had waited 10 years to witness after learning of her daughter’s diagnosis when she was a toddler. “The neurologist who saw Kaitlyn said she was going to be non-verbal for all of her life,” Figueroa, a single mom who lives in Mulberry and works as a manager at a local McDonald’s, explained to Today. “I refused to accept that.”