Mother Helped Break Down Barriers for Children With Autism

Mary Triplett refused to let her son be institutionalized, insisting that he was afforded the same rights as other children to attend school.
2:53 | 01/15/16

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Transcript for Mother Helped Break Down Barriers for Children With Autism
Now the #1 selling brand for frequent heartburn. Get complete protection with the new leader in frequent heartburn. That's Nexium Level Protection. Retirement... May not always be clear. But at T. Rowe Price, we can help guide yourretirement savings. For over 75 years,investors have relied on our disciplined approach to findlong term value. So wherever your retirement journeytakes you, we can help youreach your goals. Call a T. Rowe Price Retirement Specialist or your advisor ...to see how we can helpmake the most of your retirement savings. T. Rowe Price. Invest With Confidence. Finally tonight here our persons of the week. The story of a mother and her young son. She knew he was different but she fought for him, determined to make sure everyone would have his back and because of that fight, it's now opened the door for millions of children who have come after him. The story starts 82 years ago, a little boy in forest, Mississippi, his name, done 23458d triplet. And two parents recognize their boy is different. Very. He never cries for his mother when his dad comes home he never looks up and runs to him. He's just somehow in his own space in his own world. Reporter: But Donald's parents, his mother especially determined to get into his world. But she didn't give up hope. No. Reporter: It was the 1930s. No one had even heard of autism. Mary triplet was in a world where if you had a kid like Donald you were told one thing, put that child away and forget. And they did. They said, wait a second. Reporter: She fought to get him into school and he was soon sitting in the first grade. What would a mother not do for her child? Exactly. It's parental love and that's not not just for children with autism. That's for what would any parent do for their child? She would teach him how to drive, and tonight, this is Donald now. 82 and still driving. He learned how to drive at 27. Yeah. And he drives in his own special way. Both hands on the wheel using both feet and always a cadillac. You can imagine his mother saying use one foot but that didn't work. He still drives with two feet. Reporter: Everyone in that Mississippi town knows him. Hey, Donald. How are you? All right. How are you doing. Reporter: Until just recently Donald had no idea he was case number one. Diagnosed with autism. Decades later so many parents fighting for their children. Including Karen, her own son Mickey here as a baby. Here we go. Reporter: Fighting for him after his diagnosis, the schooling, with the other kids and look at him tonight. We have all watched him grow, Karen was a longtime producer at ABC news working with John donvan and reported those early stories on autism. We have to see Mickey and people like Mickey as one of us and we're not there yet. We're getting there. Reporter: She says with every child the whole community needs to have their back. Donald's did, first his mother then everyone else. Donald has autism today. I find it hard to say he's disabled because there's not anything he's unable to do. So we choose Donald Triplett and all of the children that come after him. John and Karen in their new book "In a different key" comes out next week. An excerpt tonight on our website. I'm David Muir. I hope to see you right back here on Monday. Until then have a good evening.

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