I came across this story yesterday and was so touched.
17 year-old high school senior, Esteban Barriga from Maynard, Massachusetts originally didn’t want to go to prom because he thought he had no friends. That all changed as word got around that he wanted to ask Ellen DeGeneres. He enlisted kids from his school, family, police officers, firemen, local business people and those in his circle of helpers from his preschool teacher to the woman who drives him to school. His invitation became this video with the repeated message, “Ellen, say yes to Esteban!”
The video invitation to Ellen DeGeneres was so cute and clever, but as a speech therapist it was also an amazing lesson plan for developing social skills as Esteban prepared a list of reasons she should say yes and asked whole classes to help him invite Ellen to the prom! It was a persuasive piece too.
One of the most touching parts was viewing Esteban getting a haircut with his barber, as he shaves the name “Ellen” on the back of his head. It is explained that when Esteban was younger, he couldn’t tolerate a haircut. That is progress, as many children with autism spectrum disorder have some sensory processing issues and it is very uncomfortable to get a haircut.
His mom told the Boston Globe, “It’s been an unbelievable experience because here’s this kid who thought he had no friends at high school, who thought he was on his own — now he’s suddenly the most popular kid in school.”
What a refreshing story to hear about a child with special needs getting such warm support from not only his high school but whole community and hearing what we all like to hear, “You’re not alone.”
Come on, Ellen, say yes to Esteban!