Watch: Autistic teenager walks unassisted for first time in eight years
Viral footage shows the moment a teenager with autism walked without assistance for the first time in eight years.
Brandon Neal, 17, from North Texas, had an operation to fix a deformity that left him confined to a wheelchair in 2011.
Eight years later, his parents were faced with the choice of buying him a new wheelchair, or investing in therapy to help him walk again.
Brandon worked with Daniel Stein, from Special Strong, for three months before they decided to venture outside and see if the teenager could walk again.
The video he filmed has been seen by more than 10 million people.
On the first training session, Brandon said, "I want a girlfriend but no one likes me because I can't walk." After eight long years, everyone wondered if Brandon would ever walk independently again. Here's what happened today #specialneeds #autism #ThursdayMotivation #fitness pic.twitter.com/Oz4hqp7PHj
— Special Strong (@SpecialStrongUS) August 22, 2019
During the clip, Brandon asks: “Are you proud of me?”, to which Mr Stein replies: “I’m so proud of you, man!”
Mr Stein told the PA news agency: “It really wasn’t planned. We just decided to go outside to see if he could do it, and he did.
“On the first training session, Brandon told me ‘I want a girlfriend but no-one likes me because I can’t walk.’
“Now he has gone back to high school and he’s no longer using a wheelchair, he’s walking independently – sometimes with a walker, but on a recent trip to a theme park he didn’t even take that.”
After Brandon walked for the first time in 8 years, he wanted to create a special video for Ellen DeGeneres. Since a child, Brandon has wanted to be on her show but thought his disability would prevent him from being able to. Help us get this message to her 🙂 #proudofbrandon pic.twitter.com/o5osSCXE3B
— Special Strong (@SpecialStrongUS) August 27, 2019
However, Brandon is determined to keep going, and hopes one day he might be able to run again.
Mr Stein said: “I am honoured to play a small part in helping him reach his goals. I am proud to be a part of something that’s truly miraculous.”