Autistic teen reflects on journey to graduation - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Autistic teen reflects on journey to graduation

Mother Rosalyn Kirk Mother Rosalyn Kirk
Senior Reid Horne Senior Reid Horne
LEE CO., GA (WALB) -

Student Reid Horne is about to graduate from Lee County High School. Graduating is an important milestone for anyone, but it's a special moment for him after overcoming the difficulties of autism to earn a diploma.

While he looks forward to college, his proud mother reflects on how far they've come.

Horne, who is 19, will be graduating from Lee County High School May 24th. But it's been a long, bumpy road for him and his mother, Rosalyn Kirk.

"There was a lot of times throughout the years that I wondered, will he ever be independent and be successful? And I know he will," said Kirk.

Reid was diagnosed with autism when he was 9. But his mother, who had three older children, said she knew something was wrong when he was an infant.

"By age two he wasn't jibber jabbing and saying words like his older brothers had done," recalled his mother. "And so it was a concern for me. So I questioned the doctor and he said, well, he's the baby of four, you all are just babying him. We're going to wait for an evaluation."

The evaluation led to speech and occupational therapy.

Now the self-proclaimed ladies man, who's called a walking encyclopedia by his friends, is looking forward to college.

"For me, I'm trying to learn everything I can to become a zoologist or a marine biologist," said Reid. "The thing is, just keep trying your best, you'll make it because dreams do come true as long as you believe in them."

Kirk attributes her son's success to fighting autism early on.

"Early intervention was key for his success. And I believe that for all children," said Kirk. "The earlier the better. I don't think there's a cure. I think it's something that we have to learn to help them adapt."

She urges other parents to stand up and be the voice for children with autism.

Reid plans to go to a nearby college for the first few years and live in his own apartment. After that he may attend another school a little farther away from home.

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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