Moving moment a non-verbal autistic child speaks for one of the first times ever - and says ‘Ho Ho Ho’

·2-min read

A 9-year-old who is autistic and non-verbal shocked his family when he whispered 'Ho Ho Ho' while looking at Christmas decorations - one of the only things he's ever said.

Tommy Hunt, 9, had hardly said a word in his life due to being non-verbal autistic - until he uttered 'Ho Ho Ho' while he marvelled at local Christmas decorations.

The video was taken while Tommy was out on a walk on 5th December in Benfleet, Essex, with his carer Caroline Faley, 36.

Caroline had just picked up the camera to send a video to Tommy's dad, James Hunt, 40, when she captured Tommy's festive utterance - after reading the phrase on some Christmas lights.

Dad-of-two James, who runs a blog and an Instagram page called 'Stories About Autism' about Tommy and his brother Jude, 12, explained that Tommy's autism means he struggles with sounds but enjoys visual sensory things such as twinkly lights.

In the video, Tommy, who normally communicates using an iPad rather than verbally, can be seen wearing ear defenders as he marvels at the local display.

Dad James, who lives in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, said: "When I saw the video, I was so overwhelmed - he doesn't really understand Christmas but it was great to see him having such a good time.

"Often when you try to communicate with Tommy you get little or no reaction and it's hard to know if he takes things in - so for him to read that sign then say 'Ho Ho Ho' without any prompting is incredible.

"Because he doesn't speak, it can be hard to know how well he can read - but this has shown me he's even cleverer than I thought he was.

"Christmas can be a really tough time for Tommy as it disrupts his regular routine, so it's lovely to see him enjoying the Christmas experience.

"I'm so glad the moment was caught on camera, because it was so lovely to see - especially after the year we've all had."