Lehigh Acres girl with autism speaks to stranger for the first time

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — Ashley Golson’s life changed Thursday when her autistic daughter spoke to a stranger for the first time, thanks to a volunteer police officer.

Golson was in a Wal-Mart parking lot with her daughter, Hope, when the officer pulled up and asked Hope if she would like to take care of his teddy bear.

“I said, ‘Hope, say thank you’ — and she said, ‘Thank you,'” Golson said.

Hope had never said a word until that moment.

“Not only does she not speak, but she doesn’t comprehend what goes on around her,” Golson said.

Hope has been playing with the teddy bear ever since, and her mother is still awash in gratitude for the officer’s act of kindness.

“He didn’t really know what we go through with her, what she goes through,” she said. “He didn’t know, but it was a beautiful thing.”

Reporter:Olivia Mancino
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