BLUEMONT, Virginia (WUSA*9)--A Washington couple left their lives in the city and moved to the middle of nowhere. They did it to save their son. Millions of families in the United States are touched by someone who has autism or other special needs. WUSA9 reporter, Scott Rensberger, takes us to a farm in Clarke County, Virginia where one family is trying to make a difference.
At first, everything seemed normal; but, when Max Massucci turned three, his parents Greg and Maya knew something was wrong.
"t took me awhile to absorb that and accept it," says Maya Wechsler.
"He was late to crawling. Late for talking," says Greg Masucci.
Max was diagnosed with autism.
"There is always some sadness when you're getting older and you're a parent of a special needs child and you have no idea what's going to happen to that child when you leave," says Maya.
Until recently, Greg and Maya lived on a busy street in Washington, DC. They constantly worried about Max's safety. They also worried about his future. Intellectually disabled people often have a hard time fitting in and finding jobs.
"The reality is the large percentage of this population remains unemployed," says Greg.
So, the couple chose a different path for their son's life. These two city people bought a farm in a remote part of Virginia.
"If you would have told me when I was my hip urban self 20 years ago in Chicago that I would be a farmer, I would have told you that you were crazy," says Greg.
"I've never grown anything. Not a thing," says Maya.
So, after uprooting their family they started a non-profit organization called A Farm Less Ordinary. With the help of volunteers and other non-profit groups, Greg and Maya only employ people with special needs.
MORE: A Farm Less Ordinary
Together they thrive right next to the squash.
"We'd like to fill all this land for farming," says Greg as he motions to the land surrounding him.
Greg and Maya are growing a community and a future for their son.
"If you don't like the story you need to change the script," explains Greg. "We realized that in order to create a happy ending we had to change our script drastically."
Their hope is that this special farm will be here long after they're gone.
"We're trying to create a permanent community here. Where he can walk out the door and see people like him and feel welcome," says Maya.
"This will probably be my son's forever home. He's not likely to leave here, ever," says Greg
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Each week, Greg and Maya hand-deliver their organic produce to customers in the DC-area as part of their CSA-Community Supported Agriculture program. Next year, they hope to expand to farmer's markets.