• New York dad gives daughter, who has autism, unforgettable prom experience

    By: Ann Smajstrla, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    BATAVIA, N.Y. - When his daughter, who has autism, couldn’t find a date to her senior prom, a New York dad stepped in and helped give her an unforgettable experience.

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    Tori Perl, 17, is a senior at Batavia High School, Yahoo Lifestyle reported. She was diagnosed with autism when she was 12, and her diagnosis made it difficult for her to maintain the friendships she formed in elementary school, said Tori’s parents, Thomas and Anna Perl.

    “Tori doesn’t have a huge circle of friends. A lot of her friends in grade school bypassed her a long time ago and Tori wanted to stay who she was,” Thomas Perl said.

    The Perls hadn’t considered whether Tori would attend her prom until a family friend offered to let her borrow a dress if she needed one. Thomas and Anna Perl decided they wanted Tori to go, but worried she wouldn’t find anyone to go with.

    "I was sitting in my bed one night and my wife just started crying, ‘I don't want Tori to miss prom and I don't want her to go with just her friends 'cause it's just not the same. You've got to have a date,’" Thomas Perl told WGRZ-TV.

    The Perls began searching for a date for Tori, but then Thomas Perl decided to do the honors himself. The school usually doesn’t allow dates older than 20. However, the school administration made an exception when Tori asked a vice principal if she could take her dad to prom.

    On the day of the prom, June 15, Thomas Perl accompanied Tori to get her hair done, and bought her a corsage. Thomas Perl dusted off his old tuxedo, and the two headed out.

    The night was a success.

    "Tori kept telling me all night, 'Dad, I'm so glad you're here, I'm so glad you came with me,'" he said. "This is so much fun."

    “I’m sure I’m not the first one who’s done something like this, but I’m certainly not the last,” Thomas Perl said. “I hope stories like this can change the world. There’s nothing that can stop these kids from doing what they want to do.”

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