By Mary Ann

Paolo was 8 months old when his doctor diagnosed him with autism. It was hard for me and my husband because where we used to live there was no help. We had to leave everything behind: our jobs, our house and moved to California so that Paolo would get the therapy he needed. He did not talk until the age of 4 and had all sorts of uncontrollable behaviors.  We couldn’t understand why these things happened to us.

Thanks to the regional center for giving us a good therapist and, most especially, for helping us find a very good daycare (the YMCA) that taught Paolo lots of things that made him so special and so smart. Just recently, he was invited to speak in front of 320 people at a big YMCA event and he was able to do it. I am proud to show everyone his speech. (You can watch his speech on YouTube here.

He is now 12 years old and a very smart boy that can hold conversations with others, thanks to the help of YMCA staff. In spite of his disability, He is very happy and full of dreams for himself and for his family. Everyone loves him and is so proud of his accomplishments. We are so proud that we are his parents.