A Florida mother claimed that a neighbor’s Christmas light display inspired her nonverbal daughter with autism to speak her first phrase.
Marisabel Figueroa Lopez believed that the lights and the music on her neighbor’s 200,000 synchronized light display set to music were the catalysts for her 13-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, to speak out for the first time in her life unprompted, WFLA reported.
Figueroa Lopez’s daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and doctors have said she could never speak.
“The neurologist who saw Kaitlyn said she was going to be non-verbal for all of her life,” Figueroa Lopez, a single mom from Mulberry, Florida, told Today. “I refused to accept that.”
Each year, Kaitlyn spent countless hours witnessing neighbor Don Weaver’s light display in complete silence each year, until last week, when she began to describe the display.
“She said, ‘Mom! Look at the blue lights. Look at the snowmen. Santa’s coming,’” Figueroa Lopez told Today. “I started crying. I couldn’t believe it.”
Kaitlyn also smiled, sang, and danced to the display.
Figueroa Lopez said she was left speechless.
“I was trying to catch my breath,” Figueroa Lopez explained. “Because it was the first time that I have heard my daughter’s voice.”
“I’m still crying about it,” she added.
Weaver and other neighbors who witnessed the feat were stunned as well.
“It was the first time she ever talked,” Weaver said.
Figueroa Lopez is thanking her neighbor for giving her daughter the gift of gab for Christmas, even if it was only for a little bit.
“To hear her speak, it just gives me hope,” Figueroa Lopez said. “Today it’s 2-3 words, tomorrow it could be a sentence. A year from now it could be a whole conversation.”
Ellen DeGeneres heard about Kaitlyn’s Christmas miracle and has invited Kaitlyn and her mother to appear on her show in California.