When Kolby Hobson was about 3, he was riding along in the car and began singing a song from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in his own made-up language.

His mother, Stephanie Hobson, immediately pulled the car over and started singing along.

“He looked back at me and it was the first time it was like, ‘You know what I’m singing. You know what I’m talking about,” she said.

Hobson sighed and realized Kolby would be able to connect with those around him.

After he was diagnosed with autism, Hobson wondered if she’d ever be able to communicate with her son.

“He would speak a certain gibberish that he knew he was saying, but the rest of us didn’t know what he was saying,” Hobson said. “There were times both of us were in tears because I didn’t understand what he was saying and he couldn’t explain to me what it was that he wanted.”

It’s taken a long time, but Kolby, now 14 and an eighth-grader at Belton Middle School, has improved his verbal skills.

Kolby will participate in an autism walk from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Lions Club Park in Killeen for Autism Awareness Day, part of April’s Autism Awareness Month activities in the area.

Organizers ask for a minimum donation of $10 per person or $35 for a family of four to support autism.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said one in 88 American children age 8 and older have some form of autism spectrum disorder.

When Kolby was first diagnosed, Hobson worried what kind of life her son would have. But throughout his progress in the last 11 years, she’s now more hopeful about what he can do with his life.

“I simply want him to make it as far as he can get,” said his dad, Kris Hobson. “Everything we do, when it comes to Kolby, is geared toward trying to make sure he gets as far as he can.”

As he grows older, Stephanie Hobson has realized Kolby teaches her more about life than she can ever teach him.

When asked if he has autism, Kolby said, “no.” He doesn’t understand he’s different from others. He’s not competitive and doesn’t understand some of the concepts that most people would hold grudges over. As a result, he’s loving, caring, honest and transparent.

“He’s the epitome of what people should be, even though he doesn’t understand that concept,” Stephanie Hobson said. “He is what we strive for. He’s good people.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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