Michael is a 9-year-old who loves car shows, spending time outside, swimming and school. He is also a resilient boy who pushes through adversity.
When Michael wasn't talking at 18 months, and was a late walker as well, his parents, Anita and Zac, knew something seemed off. Michael's pediatrician referred them to Dr. Nathan Noble at Blank Children's Developmental Center.
"We felt so defeated," said Michael's mom Anita, "but we also knew we'd do as much as possible to help our son. Dr. Noble told us that Michael has a purpose and he is here for a reason; he really put our minds at ease."
Through hard work and therapy, Michael has come a long way from that non-verbal toddler. "He doesn't let anything get in his way!" said Anita.
Michael participates in therapy at Balance Autism, ChildServe and Blank Children's. He receives respite care and supported community living services through ChildServe and Respite Connection, as well as food therapy at Blank Children's. Michael also gets speech and occupational therapy at school.
A third grader at Carlisle Elementary, Michael's friends and classmates understand his diagnosis and love to play with him during recess. Their friends and family in their community have also been very supportive.
"We can turn to our family whenever we need help," said Anita. "They have helped up be more patient. They have also helped us raise awareness about Autism through a variety of organized walks and fundraisers."
Whether he's in therapy or visiting Dr. Noble in the Developmental Center, Michael's favorite part about Blank Children's is Child Life. "He loves everything about them!" said Anita. "They have been there for him to ease his mind during some scans and ER visits."
Though it has been a difficult journey, Michael, his parents, and his brother Emory have all learned valuable lessons. "Don't ever be afraid to reach out for help if you need it," said Anita. "Don't be afraid of the diagnosis. It's not the end of the world; it's the beginning of a new one."