Change is not always easy, but for Emma change is happening. And for the most part she is handling this change with a positive attitude.
In December 2014, Emma started transitioning to Adult Recreation Services from Social Opportunities and Recreation’s Teen Club. She turned 21 and she graduated from The Center for Autism Education.
Every Wednesday at Teen Club, Emma alternated going bowling and swimming. So, when the Adult Recreation brochure came out it was a natural transition for Emma to attend a bowling event. She also enjoys the dances and dining out events.
It was a surprise when Christine Hill, Emma’s mom, found out her daughter wanted to try out for the Drama Club’s production of “The Music Man Junior.” Christine didn’t think her daughter enjoyed being in the spotlight, but something changed with Emma. “I’m not sure if talking to Emma about being 21, becoming an adult and trying new things is what did it or if it’s natural maturity,” Christine said. What Christine does know is Emma auditioned and got the part of Zaneeta Shinn.
This was Emma’s first time doing a play. She’s watched as her brother and sister were in plays or watched as her sister did many dance recitals. But now Emma decided it was her turn to be on stage. Her favorite part was dancing on stage and wearing a dress. But, she did have lines, which she learned by practicing with her mom and attending the Monday night rehearsals.
For Christine, seeing Emma up on stage was a very proud moment. “It’s always been a challenge for Emma to try new things and for her to try out was surprising,” Christine said. “I am very happy and thrilled to see her accepting a challenge.”
Occasionally, Christine will hear Emma talking to herself, saying “Try new things, try to be pleasant and keep smiling.” (Side note: Emma has a beautiful smile!) Christine believes that by reinforcing the message, the message has gotten through. Otherwise, Emma may have never auditioned for “The Music Man Junior.”
As for the day of the play, Emma had fun. Something Christine got out of the day was being encouraged by other parents. “I met one family whose son has been doing the plays for 10 years and they still see him improving,” Christine said. “It’s great to know they will always keep growing and learning.”
Now that the play is over, Emma said she misses it. When asked if she plans to try out next year, she excitedly said, “Yes!” She also added, “Thank you for coming to my show.”
On her graduation day, which was less than a week from the play, Christine noticed Emma enjoyed being in the spotlight. “Emma has run away from her birthday parties, even Christmas gatherings, but on graduation night, Emma stood on the stage,” Christine said. “It was great to see her so happy.”