A young man with autism unable to speak managed to rescue a drowning toddler.
People reports that Aaron Cahal, 23, is a hero for scrambling to help an 18-month-old boy who’d fallen into a swimming pool on Mother’s Day.
It all began when Cahal heard a child’s screams next door to his home in South Point, Ohio. He knew something wasn’t right when he heard the boy’s distress.
The autistic man is mostly non-verbal, so he had to use other resources available to him in order to help the drowning toddler.
WSAZ reports that Cahal was unable to call for help, so he snapped a photo of the home and posted it to the South Point Police Department’s Facebook page.
— People Magazine (@people) May 13, 2016
Cahal efficiently texts and uses social media to communicate with others. When the photo was posted on Facebook, Cahal wrote, “Poice we neee poice I heard big crying poeple scary poeple.”
An officer on-duty was monitoring the page when the autistic man’s text and photo came in. He recognized the area and dispatched Emergency Medical Services, who arrived just in time to save the drowning toddler’s life.
“I’m still having a hard time absorbing all of this,” Cahal’s mom, Lorena Cahal, said. “It doesn’t surprise me because that’s his lifeline, but it surprised me that he got involved.”
South Point Police Chief Chris Majher praises Cahal’s fast-thinking and another neighbor who gave the boy CPR before the EMS arrived.
“It shows he’s a problem solver,” Chief Majher said. “He solved that problem immediately. He knew he couldn’t translate that into words to be in a quick enough response that we could use that information. He knew a picture was a thousand words, and he gave it.”
Aaron’s father, Steve Cahal, says that his son uses a smartphone to communicate and is rarely without it.
“He took pictures with his phone and, of course, he always has that phone with him,” Steve Cahal said. “That’s how he communicates with everybody and he was able to correspond with South Point Facebook page to get the authorities in the right place.”
As for the toddler, his family said he’s still recovering at an area hospital. They want to eventually meet Cahal and thank him for what he did.
Cahal’s family says that they’re incredibly proud of Aaron.
“Never underestimate no matter the ability or the disability of a person,” Lorena said, “because you have no idea what they have to say or how they feel or what they have to contribute to society.”
Lorena said as a result of this amazing autistic man’s effort to save the drowning toddler, her Facebook page and Aaron’s website is “blowing up.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the toddler to help pay for his medical expenses. His mother, Tricia, has been unable to work due to being at her son’s side in the pediatric intensive care unit. Although his lungs have not been completely cleared out of infection, Gannon is improving and getting stronger.
The campaign was posted at $1 by Gannon’s grandmother and the fund has grown to $1,440.
It’s being requested that you remain anonymous if you choose to donate any money.
It’s also revealed on the GoFundMe page that the toddler Aaron Cahal saved has an autistic brother who’s 3 years old.
The young autistic man who heroically saved a drowning toddler is an example of how capable people with special needs can be.
[Photo Credit: YouTube]