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Variety Telethon: West Seneca satellite child

Posted at 7:41 AM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 07:41:27-05

Conrad Niwinski is the 54th Variety Kids Telethon West Seneca satellite child. He was diagnosed with Autism just before the age of three but doesn't let that stop his imagination and curiosity to learn.

His mother Robi Niwinski said, "Conrad was born almost one month early."

Just days after his birthday, December 24, 2006, nurses came to visit Robi and Conrad and noticed he didn't look so good. 

Nurses told Robi, who's color blind, her son's skin looked yellow. He was rushed to Women and Children's hospital to undergo testing and that's when doctors discovered he was jaundice and had a heart murmur. 

"He was in the incubator for several days," said Robi.

His jaundice and heart murmur went away but he wasn't behaving like a normal newborn. When his mother tried swaddling him or changing his diaper he'd pull away. 

Conrad would slam his hands and feet giving his Mom the message that he didn't like to be touched. 

Two and a half years went by and Conrad wasn't developing at a normal rate. He was almost three-years-old and hadn't uttered a single word. That's when doctors told Robi Conrad was autistic. 

"Right away it was just like a flash," said Robi. "A flood of questions. Will he go to college? Will he talk? Will he be able to dress himself? Will he be able to ask for something? Will he get married? Will he have children?"

Some of these questions she nor doctors know the answers to but what is clear is that Conrad can talk and he's smart. 

He can say the alphabet backwards in less than five seconds, he taught himself how to play the piano and knows every planet in the solar system and what each is made of. 

When asked what the Earth is made of Conrad said," oceans, surfaces and volcanoes."

His mom said he has an encyclopedic memory. 

"If it interests him he'll memorize it and he will not forget," she said. "He did the alphabet backwards and he hasn't done that in years. I was really surprised."