Saturday, November 5, 2011

Daughter's Autism Inspires N.Y. Jet Executive to Run in NYC Marathon

RED BANK, N.J. -- It has only been five months since 3-year-old Collette first met the gaze of her parents Michele and Matt Higgins. Before that, the autistic child sang and played, walked and spoke, but it was all seemingly apart from the world right in front of her. A chance discovery -- her low cholesterol level -- led to a therapy that changed everything.
It's hard to underestimate the power of eye contact. It is how babies unlock human facial expressions, how toddlers learn to interact with other children. It forms the bond between a parent and a child.
At first, given all the unproven therapies that at times felt like navigating snake oil salesmen, the Higgins were wary of believing what they were seeing after Collette started the experimental treatment; their daughter slept through the night for the first time ever, she looked right into their eyes -- and she smiled.
"We have this conversation, we're getting our daughter back," said Matt, the executive vice president of business operations for the New York Jets.

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