VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A 7-year-old Virginia Beach boy with autism got the birthday surprise of a lifetime during lunchtime Monday at Brookwood Elementary School.
Barbara Butts-Harakal says it is her son Nicholas' dream to become a police officer.
On Monday, a School Resource Officer from Landing Middle School was able to come surprise him at school and give him some advice.
“He was very happy to see me. We had a nice little conversation while we were waiting for lunch. He told me he was ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He’s just overall a happy seven-year-old," says Officer James Taylor.
Barbara Butts-Harakal says her son was almost four years old when she realized something was a little off. At that age, he was diagnosed with autism.
She says situations others may see as natural, like eye and physical contact, are challenges Nicholas faces on a daily basis.
“He came to me one day and said ‘Mommy, I'm disabled.’ I said to him, 'no you’re not disabled. I don’t believe in disabled. Disabled means you can’t do it. I said you’re differently abled you can learn everything your older sister can learn. You’re just going to take a little bit longer and it’s going to be in a different way,'" says Butts-Harakal.
Today, Barbara says it was a surprise instilling hope that no matter our differences, you can do and be anything you set your mind to.