To his family, Abraham Nova is a superhero - and well deserving of the title. The 7-year-old Miami boy recently rescued his baby brother from the family's backyard pool.
According to the boys' mother, Robin Goodiron, 2-year-old Walter Emarthla recently learned how to unlock doors and, last week, he ventured out into the backyard well after dark.
“We were all just right here standing in the kitchen cooking late in the evening, Goodiron said. “I turned around and said where's the baby?' and the pool was my first thought.
According to Goodiron, her youngest son had lifted the cover on their in-ground pool and was climbing head first into the water. Apparently fearing for his little brother's safety, Abraham followed him and was pulling him out of the pool when family members found the boys.
“The pool cover had fallen down on Walter and he got stuck under it, Goodiron said.
What makes the rescue even more amazing is that Abraham is “absolutely terrified of the dark - and he is autistic, according to his mother.
Almost from birth, Goodiron knew her son was different.
“He didn't want to be touched at all, Goodiron said. “I even had to find a way to nurse him without holding him.
For the first one-and-a-half years of the autistic child's life, his growth occurred very slowly.
“We started taking him to counselors and therapists and in the next six months of his life he really bloomed, Goodiron said.
Despite his progress and all of his therapy, Abraham still could not communicate until he was 5-years-old.
“Kindergarten was horrible, Goodiron said. “Abraham can't stand smells or noise. He wants to be off by himself.
After years of intense therapy, Abraham has learned to communicate verbally, but he still lacks any interest in social activity.
“He has to have his own space, Goodiron said. “He doesn't want to be touched or bothered by anyone.
At school and church, both places Goodiron attributes to his progression so far, Abraham has his own table and, sometimes, his own room.
Even at home, the eldest brother doesn't want to be bothered.
“He doesn't want his sisters to touch him, Goodiron said.
His relationship with his brother is different, however.
“He knows Walter is a baby and he tries to teach him things, Goodiron said. “They brush their teeth together and he helps Walter brush his hair.
Daily life with an autistic child is always a challenge, according to Goodiron.
“Everything always has to be the same, Goodiron said. “We can't change the kind of toothpaste or soap we use. We can't even take a different route to church or the store, he freaks out.
The family has learned to sleep at night with the lights on because of Abraham's fear of the dark.
“My daughters even sleep with those little eye masks on so the light doesn't bother them, Goodiron said. “That's why it was so amazing that Abraham went outside after his brother - it was dark outside.
Even though the family's home was already well secured, the following day Goodiron's father had a security system installed and additional locks.
“Walter unlocked the door knob lock and the dead bolt and managed to unlock both locks on the patio screen door, Goodiron said. “Now, if he tries to get out, the alarm will go off.
Goodiron said she cannot stress enough how easy it is for children to get out of sight.
“We were all right here within 15 feet of the back door, Goodiron said. “The baby opened the door and closed it and we never heard it.