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'He never gives up': Why this video of a boy with autism zipping his jacket is so powerful

A video of a 6-year-old boy with autism zipping up his jacket has become a powerful symbol of the milestones achieved by special needs children.
/ Source: TODAY

To anyone else, it looks like a simple video of a young boy slowly working to zip up his jacket.

To the boy's family, it was a monumental moment, because they know everything it took to reach it.

Mom and blogger Mandy Farmer, 31, posted the video on Facebook of her son Evan, 6, who has autism, successfully zipping up his jacket. He had been working in a program for a month to be able to do it by himself.

"You know how we say autism families don't take things for granted? This is what we mean," she wrote.

The hours that Evan spent in therapy, sometimes up to 25 in a week, came to fruition in that moment.

"We can tell people about how hard he works in all of these therapies and that he still can't effectively use a spoon or fork, or independently dress himself, or tolerate a room with loud noises, but watching this short clip says it better than I ever could,'' Farmer told TODAY.

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"Things are this hard for him, and yet he never gives up. Life is all about perspective."

Farmer, who lives with her husband and three children in Springfield, Virginia, has received an overwhelming response to the video.

Many families going through similar situations with special needs children have also shared their stories with her. Others who don't have children with autism have told her they didn't know about some of the daily struggles kids like Evan encounter until seeing the video.

She has been reading the heartfelt comments to Evan, and he has been swelling with pride, she said.

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"I have been especially moved by how many parents have said this gives them hope for their special needs child who is also struggling with self-care and fine motor issues,'' Farmer said. "And then on the other end you have parents and individuals encouraging me, saying that was their child's struggle, too, but now they are driving a car or able to write after a lot of hard work and perseverance.

The moment Evan was able to get the jacket all the way up is a milestone the family won't soon forget.

"You cry happy tears, you squeal, you jump up and down and you celebrate every little step because you know just how hard they worked to take it, and he always has such a look of pride on his face when he finally gets it."

Evan's achievement also will hopefully inspire another family that their big moment is coming.

"I hope others with children with special needs will be encouraged and know that milestones will come in their own time, and with hard work anything is possible,'' Farmer said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.