The pull of curiosity are powerful forces, and for one boy they unlocked so much more than just a passion for astronomy. Hayden Geraghty was born with autism and ADHD. He spent the first five years of his life virtually non-verbal, but one event would trigger a change.
The Irish Examiner, explains how in 2015 Caroline Geraghty, Hayden’s mother, was watching Tim Peake blast off towards the International Space Station. Suddenly her son, who in the past could only “say the odd word but could not piece it all together”, spoke his first full sentence. Upon seeing the rocket launch, Hayden Geraghty saying the countdown aloud and shouted “Blast off!”
After that moment, Caroline Geraghty reported that Hayden “has been chatting ever since.” He has expressed a deep passion for space, astronomy, and astronauts. He and his mother have visited various space events and met several astronauts.
The BBC reports that Lottie Dolls, a company that makes figures inspired by children, was inspired by Geraghty’s story. They developed a figure with his help called the “Loyal Companion Doll”, which consists of “bright red ear defenders, sophisticated flight suit, and autism assistance dog.” News of the doll prompted Tim Peake to send a message to Geraghty.
Hayden Geraghty has proudly brought the doll along with him to several of the events he has attended, and now finds himself on a first name basis with several astronauts including Tim Peake himself.
The Lottie Dolls company has expressed their desire for the Hayden Geraghty inspired doll to play a vital role in “introducing the concept of diversity”, and helping “children become normalized to children from different backgrounds.”
Hayden Geraghty’s story stands as a great reminder about the power of curiosity and having a passion for learning. Hayden Geraghty hopes to one day become an astronaut like his heroes, and go “to the moon, or Mars.”