Student with Asperger's syndrome thrives beyond circumstances

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MERIDIAN, Miss (WTOK) -- A man from Enterprise, Mississippi is beating odds with his passion for computers.

At the age of nine months, he had a medical condition that made doctors think he would spend the rest of his life in a vegetative state.

Will Newman explained how his life started off with challenges.

"They told me before you were born, there was going to be a chance that you are not going to be the person that you are. You might just be a vegetable with a feeding tube," he explained.

Will's mother, Hilda Newman, remembers the day she rushed her baby to the hospital and when doctors diagnosed him with Hysparrhythmia.

"His feet came up and his hand came up and they explained to me that those were jackknife seizures," said Hilda.

He was also diagnosed with Autism and Asperser's syndrome.

"That started a long process of therapy. I would say early intervention is one of the best possible ways to start a cure for a child," Hilda said. "I know parents go through this. Once they realize there children are sick and they go through a denial process. Don't stay in that process too long. I knew my child needed help."

Will had to overcome neurological and social challenges associated with his condition. Now at 23 years old, he will soon earn his Associate's Degree in Computer Programming at Meridian Community College.

"I am just celebrating who I am as an individual and a human being. There are people in this world who will tell you, you will never make it. You are not going to be in this program. You have to take all of those naysayer sayings and prove them wrong," said Will.

He has acquired skills in coding applications, Java, and HTML. Information Technology Instructor Terry Cullum lectured Will through Python Programming, a course that teaches students technical skills like troubleshooting computers.

"I push them. Because that is the only way you are going to get better at what you are doing, is to actually have some kind of push behind you or motivate you to go to the next level," said Cullum.

Will said he is on the path to pursue a career in video design and he hopes he can be an example to others along the way.

"Take this graduation as a reminder for people who believe they can't do it and say, 'Hey.' Tell them, 'If you think you can't do it, and you can't reach your dreams, look at me. Look at how I turned out,'" Will said.

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