Nicole Carr, WSB- TV 2
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. – A Douglasville student who couldn’t speak until he was 6 years old is now preparing to address Georgia lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
Michael Holland, 21, is a high school senior who is learning problem-solving, scheduling and math skills through the Georgia Cyber Academy.
He will stand before lawmakers next week to advocate for education and sports programming made possible through the Special Olympics.
Holland was adopted in North Carolina at the age of 5 and has competed in the Special Olympics since he was 8.
“You could say it’s like a home away from home for me,” he said.
He functions while dealing with a slew of conditions, including autism, mild intellectual disability, Marfan’s tic and seizure disorders, kidney disease and developmental delay.
Holland wants lawmakers to know how Special Olympics helped him build the independence he was never projected to have.
“Special Olympics has given him a place to be safe. It doesn’t matter. They all accept everybody for who they are,” his mother, Ellen Holland, said.
Special Olympics detected one of Michael Holland’s conditions, osteopenia.
“If they find a problem and that person can’t afford the care, they’ll follow that up and find someone to treat them,” Ellen Holland said.
Michael and his mother will travel to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday for meetings with the health, education, labor and pensions committees.