You know them. The neighbors who go all out for Christmas, their houses extravagantly decorated with lights probably visible from airplanes, inflatable Santas and snowmen swaying on the lawn.
Every year Don Weaver of Mulberry, Floria constructs such a display. He synchronizes more than 200,000 lights to Christmas music in an elaborate show.
And this year, his Christmas light show inspired a nonverbal girl with autism to speak for the first time.
13-year-old Kaitlyn Figueroa Lopez has never said a word. She was first diagnosed as autistic and nonverbal at age three, and doctors predicted she would never speak.
Kaitlyn’s mother Marisabel was sitting outside their home with her daughter so they could watch Weaver’s light show spectacular like they do every year. And as they were watching, Kaitlyn jumped up and started yelling, “Santa! Santa is coming!”
Marisabel, who had never heard her daughter speak before, was shocked.
“I was trying to catch my breath,” she explained. “Because it was the first time that I have heard my daughter’s voice.”
“To hear her speak, it just gives me hope. Today it’s 2 to 3 words, tomorrow it could be a sentence. A year from now it could be a whole conversation.”