WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita, autistic teen attended his first high school dance on Saturday.
“Let’s go!” hollered Nate Younkman.
Nate Younkman, 16, spends a majority of his free time outside his west Wichita home. It’s there, his mom says he feels free.
“He’s constantly out playing, being the Chiefs in the backyard,” said Nate’s mom Jessica Neitzel. “He loves the Chiefs!”
Love, may be an understatement. Neitzel said her son, who is often seen decked out in Chiefs gear, is somewhat obsessed with the Kansas City football team. He has a special, printed-out Chiefs schedule that he writes the scores on after each game. He also brings up the team in nearly every conversation.
“It’s an everyday thing, pretty much from the time he wakes up in the morning to the time he goes to bed,” Neitzel said.
However, the Chiefs have taken a backseat to Nate’s most recent obsession, his first high school dance.
“He was super, super excited,” Neitzel said. “It fills your heart full of joy and I just thought it was so sweet of Aliya to ask him to go.”
Nate was diagnosed with autism when he was about 10-months old. He also suffers from epilepsy and microplasia. The junior had never been to a school dance, let alone asked to go to one by somebody.
“He’s one of my friends, so I chose him,” said Aliya Anthony. “I was like ‘Natey, I have a question to ask you and he’s like what and I’m like would you like to tackle homecoming with me?'”
“It was very sweet and kind and Natey’s face was just priceless during the whole thing. Of course, he instantly starts talking about the Chiefs,” Neitzel said.
Neitzel said when the day arrived for Nate to attend the dance, he was extremely prepared.
“He was up at 6 o’clock in the morning, all completely dressed with his flowers in hand and I’m like ‘Natey, it’s not until this evening!'” she said.
The night of the dance, Nate swapped his football for Aliya and some sunflowers. The pair posed for pictures and then danced the night away. When asked how the evening went, Nate grinned.
“Big time!” he said.
KSN asked Nate if he’d rather go to a high school dance or a Chiefs game.
“Chiefs game!” Nate exclaimed.
Unfortunately, Nate has never been to a Chiefs game, but his mom hopes to take him to one someday. Netizel said when Nate is not talking football he is now asking her when he will get to go to prom.