When Eric Duquette from Smithfield, Rhode Island came into this world, his parents were told he had Autism and would probably end up in an institution. His parents thought otherwise.  He didn’t speak a word until he was five. Undeterred, every day his mom and dad focused on teaching him just ten words, sometimes for up to eight hours a day. They even taught him sign language as a supplement.

In June 2010, Eric graduated high school as Salutatorian. In his memorable commencement speech (video below), he said he had been accepted into every institution of higher learning he had applied to, and he joked, “so in a way, I guess the experts are right about the institution thing.”

Eric thanks his mom and dad for what they taught him, “In life it’s all about the choices we make.”