I was diagnosed [with autism] in 1968, at the age of three. Thanks to some forward thinking by my parents and our family doctor in West Liberty, IA, I was sent to the University of Iowa for speech therapy. When I started, I was nonverbal, but thanks to the university and the Wilton (IA) Community School District, I was able to start Kindergarten with some speech. Back in those days, most kids were put in institutions, because -- in my opinion -- there was lack of knowledge about autism.
I honestly never envisioned being active in the autism community, but when I met my now wife on a popular dating website, she mentioned she had two autistic sons. [Dating] was quite a challenge for someone who had never dated until the age of 44. I understood autism, so that’s helped quite a bit.
[On Thursday, April 13, 2023, Mike will be present during the Governor's signing to officially recognize Autism Acceptance Day]
Going to the signing means a tremendous amount to me. I feel I’m representing our community, for all autistic Iowans, whether they live in the city, the suburbs, a small town, or on a farm (like I did growing up). I feel honored to take part in this ceremony. Not only am I representing autistic Iowans, I’m representing Talk To Me Technologies, and I am honored to do that as well.