Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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Angels in our Midst (Joshua)

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:43 PM CDT
April is National Autism Awareness Month.
While many times we focus on the challenges that children with autism face, one young man reminds us of the gifts they bring the gifts of angels in our midst.

Tiffany Geri, Joshua's Mom;  "He received speech and occupational therapy and special instruction program where a teacher comes out to your home."
Joshua Wilhelm was two years old and newly diagnosed with autism when he received services at the pearl nelson child development center.  Today, he's an eighth-grader at Jim Bailey Middle School who still likes his favorite television show, Zoom, which he watches online.  That's where he got an idea.

Joshua;  "They count pennies; a penny drive."

Tiffany Geri, Joshua's Mom;  "He said, Hi, my name is Joshua Wilhelm and I would like to collect pennies for the Pearl Nelson Center and I got the idea from watching Zoom."

Joshua found the Zoom programs on his computer all by himself; something else he learned at Pearl Nelson.

Tiffany;  "There was another program, it was called CHAT at the time.  It's Children Having Access To Technology and that was how he was first introduced to computers."

While he's gone back to visit at pearl nelson a time or two, no one knows what it was exactly about his experience here so many years ago that led Joshua to decide this was where he wanted his pennies to go; however many that might be.

Joshua;  "I have no idea.  It looks like 57."

Tiffany Geri, Joshua's Mom;  "I thought we might save about 25 dollars and we'd take it by there and they could buy a nice plant or something.  The support has been just been overwhelming.  I think we're close to, probably getting close to 500 dollars now."

Mary-Ann;  "He struggles with autism himself; is still in special education.  But, what tremendous strides he's made to be able to open his heart up and give back to a program that he knew helped him and he wants to reach out and help another child.  It's just tremendous."

Joshua has come a long way from the little boy being taught how to play with toys and how to put on socks and shoes to a teen who's teaching all of us how to give back.

Tiffany;  "It was emotional.  And I was very proud that he's come so far; I never could have imagined."

 Mary-Ann Bickerstaff, Pearl Nelson Center Director;  "I know the research has shown us that early intervention works but this has probably touched me more than any experience I've ever had.Thank you."
Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.

Angels in our Midst (Joshua)

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