Y’all know by now that I am a Mom of a young woman with autism. The story “Welcome to Holland” was a great comfort to me and brought many tears after the shocking diagnosis. And each time I read it, for years afterwards, a tear would slide down my cheek.
My daughter goes to a program one day a week at Merrimack Hall. There, they created this beautiful interpretive dance to this same story. Watch. Be moved. Understand. Empathize. It is simply beautiful.
Not too long after I created The Johnny Stallings Arts Program, someone directed me to a poem entitled “Welcome to Holland.” The authorized version of the poem is reprinted below, with permission from author Emily Perl Kingsley. I am told that soon after receiving a diagnosis for their child, whether it’s prenatally or at birth or later, parents are told about this poem. Ms. Kingsley has granted permission for the poem to be reprinted thousands times and it has been widely circulated around the world for 35 years.
Because I used to be a dancer, I imagined “Welcome to Holland,”as a dance from the first time I read it. For years, I’ve wanted to set this poem to music and use dance to interpret the powerful emotions it describes. This summer, I decided it was time.
I tracked down Ms. Kingsley and asked for her permission to set this poem to music and…
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