By Travis Dafft, Student, Houston, TX
Abstract: A high school student who is deafblind shares his experience attending a dance sponsored by a local church.
Keywords: Family Wisdom, deafblind, community based services, inclusion, recreation, social
A note from mom: This article is written through Travis’ perspective through a process we routinely use. He chose individual phrases and words for this article on his own. For example, we would come up with an idea that fit into the specific part of the storyline and present Travis a choice about what to write. After it was written, he would be asked if it was okay. If Travis responded “yes,” the sentence would stay in the article. If he said “no,” then we would begin the process of making choices again. While it is a lengthy process, we are finding that Travis not only has a wicked sense of humor but now he really has a voice. Instead of being talked about, he engages with people.
Thanks to TWUMC, Special Blessings Ministry Team, Lisa and Nino Thompson, Debbie and Kevin Glass, Willie and Gayle, George and Christine Givens and all the parents and high school volunteers who made this a special night for all. While on vacation in Indiana, Travis has shown his pictures and told his story to many people. It has even encouraged his friend Amanda to speak to her pastor about holding a special prom at her church. It is amazing the change two smiling faces can bring to this world.
Most teenagers look forward to the spring when the big event takes place in their lives…PROM. Every year, The Woodlands United Methodist Church holds a “Special Blessings” prom and this would be my first year that I would be able to attend. I never thought this day would come, especially after all the medical crisis I have had lately. But April 12th was approaching fast and I still did not have a date for the dance.
As I lay in my hospital bed, I decided to ask a friend, Skye Givens, to join me at the dance. My mom and I were a little worried because Skye is 10 and I am 17 and maybe her parents wouldn’t let her go. So my mom asked her mother if it was ok to invite her. Ms. Givens was excited and said I could ask Skye to go to the prom as my guest.
I made a special invitation asking Skye to do me the honor of attending a “Royal Evening” with me at the church. Her parents called and said she would love to go.
Now the real work began. Mom told dad and me that it was our job to get my tux and her flowers. Dad was ready to go to the mall but mom said we had to wait until we knew the color of Skye’s dress. While Skye and her mom were shopping for her dress, a friend of mine Sky Hoake, gave me his old tux that he had outgrown. It was a perfect fit.
Finally Ms. Givens called and said that Skye would be wearing a yellow gown. Dad and I ordered a yellow cummerbund and bowtie from the internet. He asked mom if I needed shoes but mom said I could wear my black shoes that fit over my braces. Then it was off to the flower shop. The clerk helped us pick out a pretty flower design, and I paid for it.
Dad and I went to the mall to get me some special cologne for the big night. I smelled over 12 scents before I picked the most expensive Gucci cologne. Now I was ready.
April 12th finally arrived; I spent the afternoon getting dressed. My sister came over and we took a lot of pictures. I gave mom a special flower for her to wear. Then it was off to meet up with Skye.
When we arrived at the church, there were a lot of friends all waiting to greet us and take our picture. Skye and I got our crowns and sashes proclaiming us to be King and Queen. We had a short ride in a horse drawn carriage to the entrance of the hall. We were introduced by the court jester and then the dance began.
Mom and Ms. Givens were sure that it would be a short stay because Skye and I are both Deafblind and don’t handle noise very well. Our parents thought that we would last one maybe two songs at the most. As the night progressed, I never left the dance floor. Mom helped me dance at first, then she showed two very nice high school girls how to move my chair and they were my partners for the rest of the night. Skye danced nearby with her special helpers and we had a blast. My first prom was a huge success and I can hardly wait until next year.