Hometown Hero - Phillip Proctor

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Seven-year old Phillip Proctor is above average in math and reading in his second grade Briarwood Elementary class.

In addition to grades, Phillip's personality also makes him shine...He is very articulate and insists on fairness.

But something you might not know about Phillip is that he is autistic.

He was diagnosed with autism at 26 months and even he will tell you that he's come a long way since then.

Phillip's grandmother, Suzanne Vitale, says Phillip didn't always deal this well with his autism.

Phillip went through intensive early childhood therapy through the Kentucky First Step Program but had to stop at age three when the program dismantled.

So Vitale, with the vision of WKU President Gary Ransdell and Provost Barbara Burch set out to build an innovative and unique program that would integrate services to meet the needs of developmentally challenged children in the community.

Vitale says she always saw the potential in Phillip and now wants his story to be an inspiration to others.

Although our hometown hero enjoys being a second grader for now, his impact will influence the future quality of life for many to come.

The CEC encompasses five clinical programs: The Early Childhood Clinic, Communication Disorders Clinic, Family Counseling, Acquired Brain Injury Resource Program and the Kelly Autism program.

The center, which opened its doors this year, is set to become a nationally recognized model in research, training and service for families and children with disabilities.