Posted: Jul 15, 2012 7:16 PM by Hope Hanselman, KSBY News
When something is broken, Isaac Parrish is the man to see.
At 16 years old, he doesn't yet have his driver's license. But he finds use in what others find junk, and enjoyment in what others don't understand.
"We would put him in a preschool and they would tell us, Isaac is taking apart the sprinkler system or the gates," his mother, Sheri, said.
Which is why Isaac's parents couldn't understand what limits he was pushing, until the world started pushing back.
"We had no idea until Isaac was in kindergarten... And the delays meant a lot more than we would have ever known."
A few tests later, doctors diagnosed Isaac with autism, ADHD and a warning that life was not going to "normal."
"Early on in school they would kind of segregate the kids," his father, Tim, said. "You couldn't go to recess with other kids, you couldn't have lunch with them."
But you might have a hard time convincing Isaac of that. After all, why be normal when you can be different?
"Public schools have a hard time with kids that don't conform and Isaac doesn't conform... at all," Sheri said.
So, when others discouraged him from getting into 4-H, he did it anyway.
"He loves animals so that balanced out his not wanting to touch them," Sheri said.
But what Isaac really loves doesn't snort, or moo, or bark.
It purrs .
Isaac loves tractors. He may be the only autistic student in his 4-H program but he says he's the only one with a passion so strong.
When a 1950 Ford tractor arrived at Isaac's doorstep just before Christmas last year, a smile spread across his face.
"That's what my passion is, to be fixing this thing up and drive it," Isaac said.
And piece by piece, he's fixing that too. All in anticipation of a pitter, a patter, a purr.
The excitement of hearing the engine fire up pushed Isaac to overcome challenges with his sensitivity to sensations and smells and his distractions.
"All these kind of kids, these autistic kids in particular, they all have a gift," Tim said.
In red and white paint, Isaac's gift stands as proof they're not ready to be counted out.
"The goal was to see his dream come true," Tim said.
So, when something isn't working right, you know who to call.
"I'm going to be on this thing day and night plowing fields," Isaac said.
He has some big days ahead of him. Monday, judges assess the tractors. Tuesday, he presents his speech to them. Wednesday, he finds out where he placed.
After all his work, Isaac has no plans to sell his tractor (he's dubbed it a "she"). After the fair, she's coming right back home as an investment piece in Isaac's future plans.
He's starting a landscape business, where he can play with his toys all day long.
You can see Isaac's tractor for yourself every day during the Mid-State Fair during Tractor Hour between 2pm and 3pm.
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