Aaron is my friend’s 9 1/2 year old son. He loves to sing, swim, eat his favorite foods and go on the computer much like any other 9 1/2 year old boy. Aaron has a smile that lights up his face and makes everyone around him smile too. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Aaron has autism? I first met Aaron about 3 or 4 years ago when his mom enrolled him at the summer camp I was working at. I had gotten to know Aaron’s mom, Debbie many years ago when she enrolled Aaron’s brother Seth, and later his brother Ryan at the preschool I worked at ( which is where the camp was located). Aaron was put into my camp group and I couldn’t have been happier. With his sweet demeanor he was a joy to be around and the other kids, though a bit younger, took to him immediately. My co-counselor and I worked with his speech theraspist to help build Aaron’s vocabulary and help give him the tools to express himself with. I have worked at many other summer camps but this was my most rewarding experience . Aaron came back to camp again the following summer but was not in my group. Still, I was just happy that I was able to see him every day. After that second summer, I didn’t see Aaron again for several years. After a chance meeting with his mom, and younger sister Sydney at the mall last December, Aaron’s mom and I struck up a friendship. Debbie is a single mom with three kids at home( her eldest, Seth is at college). Sometimes she needs help getting the kids to and from various activities, and when she asks if I can help, I am more than happy to do so. Several times I have picked Aaron up after therapy and driven him home. We play games on the way home, where I try and get a response from him., Sometimes I get the desired response, sometimes no. Either way it’s fine. Aaron is comfortable enough with me now, that when I pick him up from therapy, he comes into the waiting room with a smile on his face. I recently stayed with Aaron for a couple of hours when his mom had to work. We watched videos, sang songs , and played. We had a great time. At least I know I did, and I suspect Aaron did too. To know Aaron is to appreciate him and all that he is. All kids are special and Aaron is no different. Thank you Aaron, for being you.