I knew my daughter needed something special for her birthday. It wasn’t until I created a weekend getaway that I realized how important it was to give to her more often. As a mom of a special needs 21 year old, there was so much to digest during our weekend getaway. It helped that we were staying at one of the best hotels in Los Angeles. 

Celebrating my special needs daughter’s 21st birthday at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, was more amazing than I could have ever imagine. As the parent of a special needs child, it is challenging to think of what happens after my daughter leaves high-school, the school system, and enters the real world. There are no real answers and next steps that exist in that space. We are not always equipped to handle the challenges, but we must welcome out encounters and hopefully enjoy each birthday with a smile. 

Daughter Sitting in Room

This year, I decided to take my daughter away overnight. Because of the limited travel options, it was important that we stay close to home. Nothing could have prepared us for the beautiful accommodations we received at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. My daughter Taylor was overjoyed to have a beautiful makeover, sit by the pool, and experience dinner the night of her birthday at the Culina Restaurant.

My special needs daughter has taught me compassion. Her diagnosis of deafness and autism has been what defined our relationship for the last two decades. Completing three academic degrees including one from Yale, while raising her, meant sacrifice.

As parents, the mundane tasks end for some after their child gains a certain level of independence. However, it has never really ended for us. As I consider her future and the pathway forward, I am moved to compassion, empathy and patience. Certain regressive behaviors have become challenging, and I hope I can ignite the passion to look at the upcoming year with fresh eyes.


  • Eraina Ferguson

    Writer, Advocate, and People Lover

    My Good Life

    Eraina Ferguson is a creative nonfiction writer currently penning a memoir about raising a daughter with autism and deafness. Her story was featured in “The New Haven Register” She holds an M.Ed in Education and an MAR in Religion from Yale University. Learn more about her here: erainaferguson.com