We were lucky enough to have Philip spend Labor Day Weekend with us at in DC. Now, his mom Ginny shares her LiveUp experience:
Our son, Phillip, does not speak. He had a small vocabulary of words until about age 3, when he Just. Stopped. Talking.
We later learned that autism often presents at age 3, and Phillip eventually did receive the dual diagnosis of autism in addition to Down Syndrome. Because relationships depend on communication, we have learned to read Phillip’s moods and needs by his facial expressions and body language.
It spoke volumes when we pulled up to our second LiveUp weekend, and Phillip jumped out of the car, retrieved his luggage from the back seat, and took off with his new buddy, Jason, without looking back.
I spent the weekend glued to my Facebook account, just waiting for the daily post by the Live Up photographer – not just to see pictures of Phillip, but to see ALL of the participants and volunteers trying new things and having the time of their lives. The smiles in those photos are worth thousands upon thousands of words.
This is my current favorite picture of Phillip [above], taken at the closing ceremony for Live Up Labor Day, 2013. This photo was taken right after Phillip gave his speech. Yes, you read me right: GAVE HIS SPEECH.
It is customary for the participants to have the opportunity to share their thoughts about the weekend at the closing ceremony. Usually Phillip would sit this activity out. But, much to our surprise, we watched as he stood up and got in line with the other participants to wait his turn to “speak”. My husband and I looked at each other. We saw the look of surprise on the face of his mentor. We expected Phillip to lose patience in the line and go back to his seat, but he kept his place. And when it was finally his turn, he took the microphone, turned on that winning smile and looked at the audience. That was all he needed to say. There are moments when actions truly speak louder than words.
On his way back to his seat, Phillip gave high fives to all of his friends and anyone who happened to be sitting on the middle aisle. I believe his heart was so full of joy and emotion that he felt compelled to give his “speech”. And this is the best gift LiveUp has given to me.