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My Son Has Become More Than His Autism

Joane Goodroe is the mother of a 25 year old son that was diagnosed with autism – pervasive development delay- when he was 4 years old. In addition to being the mother of two sons, she has degrees in nursing and business and has developed innovative solutions that have reduced unnecessary healthcare costs while improving the quality of care. She is also a Dr. Oz ShareCare expert.

When our son was diagnosed with autism, every hope and dream for him disappeared. Statements like, “he will not be eligible for school” and “you will need to consider long term care options” are still vivid in my mind.

Michael is now 25 years old and although the diagnosis may have correct, the prognosis for his life was wrong. Although nothing has been easy, these are some of Michael’s accomplishments that we never expected:

· Graduated from the University of West GA May 2011, History Major and Theater Minor. 
· College was 2 hours away from family, and he lived independently. 
· He works for a health care company billing and management company as a data coordinator. 
· 2nd degree black belt – has trained since he was 5 years old; serves as an assistant instructor - took him 3 times longer than others to earn his black belt. 
· Project Leader for eight college classes. Able to organize group to meet goals. 
· Singing Performances - Member of the University’s Chorus and has raised money for several charities by singing at events. He is singing with his younger brother and father in this video.

·He is demonstrating entrepreneurial skills. He started a Martial Arts Movie Review effort that he posts to You Tube 

We never could have imagined that these things would be Michael’s story. There is so much that we do not understand about the capabilities of people with autism. His thoughts and his abilities were “hidden” but he continues to grow and develop as a person. As Michael says, he is just like everyone else and autism is just one of his characteristics. There are many hopes and dreams for Michael’s future.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.