This is a photo of my lovely daughter, Randa, and my son, Mohamed. It was taken at the Starry Night Prom 2014, the first prom for both of them. The photo isn’t very clear because I snapped it with my cheap phone camera but I love it anyway because she is so very happy. She looked like a princess and she felt beautiful and elegant and was an absolute social butterfly that night. He was happy that she was in a safe environment and proud to escort his little sister.
My daughter has severe autism. She suffers from sensory overload in public. Too many loud noises or voices or sounds, music, strong scents, bright and flickering lights, too many colors, and mixed tastes and textures can trigger her fight or flight mechanism and makes her heart race and she will run to get away from it. She’s learned to handle situations where some of those overloads are okay but never all at once. You’ll notice the hot pink headphones in the photo. They are just hearing protection for use at the gun range. We picked them up at a local store for around $9 and she wears them everywhere as noise blockers. They help to reduce the amount of background noise for her so that she can process the important things and keep her ears from hurting.
Prom is a tradition in which kids like Randa rarely get to participate. It’s far too overwhelming for them. So when we were invited to Starry Night Prom last year, we figured we’ll have to pass. Then the president of this amazing non-profit organization explained to me what it was about…and we went. It was F A B U L O U S! And this year, I’m volunteering to collect donations (monetary and raffle items) to help with the 2015 Starry Night Prom to be held one week from today (May 9, 2015.) Following is an excerpt from the official information letter that is sent to our potential donors explaining who and what we are:
“Taking the vision from Arlington ISD special education teacher Sara Mayo, Chase Christensen developed his Eagle Scout project around creating the Starry Night Prom, along with Boy Scout Troop #396 and the Arlington Elks Lodge #2114. Now an annual event, the Starry Night prom is heading into its eighth year of throwing an all-inclusive prom! Students with significant disabilities and their chaperone are treated to beautiful invitations to attend prom, a sit down dinner, professional photography, corsages and boutonnieres, dessert fountain, a prom king and queen, goodie bags, and of course, a huge dance floor with a DJ, all at no cost to the student or their chaperone!”
We are still actively seeking out donations to make this the best Starry Night Prom yet. If you are feeling generous, please CLICK HERE to link up to our donation site. All donations are appreciated. Starry Night Prom is a recognized 501-C3 Non Profit Organization and all donations are tax-deductible.
Thank you for making an incredible night for Arlington ISD high school students with significant disabilities a reality by supporting Starry Night Prom 2015!