SEATTLE -- Police officers helped surprised an 11-year-old with special needs Monday, hoping to prove a museum can be more about a person’s future than the past.
“It makes me want to be an officer even more,” Owyn Rexilius said.
Owyn, who has Asperger’s, epilepsy, autoimmune disease and ADHD, toured the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, met Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, pet a police horse and introduced himself to one of the department’s K-9 officers.
“I think he was very excited … very shocked … and I think this will stay with him a very long time,” his mother Kira Rexilius said.
Owyn wants to grow up and be on a SWAT team. He’s been studying police for four years now. He’s read books, encyclopedias -- anything that could teach him about the profession.
“So I can help people,” he said.
Owyn has already overcome the odds. His mother said, total, he’s spent about 3.5 years in the hospital.
“He was born, we were told he wouldn’t make it the first day. Then the first three days and then every time we went to the hospital we were told don’t expect to bring him home for the first couple years,” she said. “At 18 months he quit talking. Everything went backwards. We were told he wouldn’t talk. He wouldn’t walk. He wouldn’t be able to do anything.”
But as Owyn walked around the museum Monday, he answered questions about DNA and pointed out things in the C.S.I. cabinets, most 11-year-olds haven’t even heard of.
“I think it’s great to see somebody in his situation who is very bright, far more educated than many people in here without special needs,” said Jim Ritter, who works in Community Outreach for SPD. “He was answering questions we had for him that most people could not answer.”
For the record, Owyn said it likely ranks number one on his list of 11 birthdays so far.
“As you can tell – anything he’s been told he can’t do – he’s really good at doing now,” his mom said. “He always seems to find a way.”