Mother asks for birthday cards from the community for daughter with autism

A family in Southwest Florida wants to make their daughter’s 17th birthday one she’ll never forget. With the pandemic and financial challenges, it’s been a tough year for her as someone who lives with autism.

We learned one thing that could make Emilie Orta’s birthday more of a joy would be receiving birthday cards.

Emilie’s bedroom at home might not seem like what you’d expect from a teenager. She has what she needs of course — a bed, her clothes, a dresser, but nothing on the walls. Emilie’s mom says her daughter is not your typical teen.

“Emilie is special; she’s autistic,” mother Shaylin Orta told WINK News.

So Emilie likes doing things her own way. Usually, that’s OK, but it proved to be a problem when the family’s septic tank pipe backed up inside their home in Lehigh Acres.

“A big reason why she lost a lot of her stuff is because she likes to keep her stuff on the floor,” Orta said. “She doesn’t like shelves. She’s very finicky.”

Emilie’s room flooded a couple of weeks ago, and she is still pretty upset.

“She didn’t sleep for almost a week,” Orta said. “There were three days there, especially the three days she just kept walking back and forth in her room, ‘Oh, my God, my room, my walls. Mommy when are you going to fix it? Mommy, please,’ begging, just begging.”

Mom figured out what would cheer up her daughter — birthday cards.

“There’s something about birthday cards that she just loves,” Orta said. “She loves getting mail. Seeing something in the mailbox with her name on it just makes her day.”

Emilie’s birthday is Nov. 21, and her mom hopes WINK News viewers might send her a card, a small note. She’s sure that will put a smile on her face and keep it there. That way she can add cards to her room, maybe put them on the bare walls.

To send a card, mail to:

WINK News
Attn: Emilie Orta
2824 Palm Beach Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33916.

We’ll collect them, package them up and deliver them to her on her birthday.

“It’s really hard for her to make friends,” Orta said. “So when she sees cards coming in the mail for her, I think to her it’s like I’m loved. Somebody cares about me; this is for me, and to her, that’s her friends.”

Reporter:Annette Montgomery
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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