Portland teen with autism will make trip to United Nations - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland teen with autism will make trip to United Nations

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A 15-year-old boy who won a trip of a lifetime, but was initially denied the opportunity due to being autistic, has been approved to go according to his family.

Niko Boskovic of north Portland won a trip to go to the United Nations in New York after he wrote an essay about Ukraine, got letters of recommendation and met with judges as a part of the United Nations Educational Pilgrimage for Youth contest.

Niko has autism and is nonverbal, and his mother planned to go on the trip with him.

But once Loreta Boskovic began to look into travel arrangements, she learned the trip wouldn’t support a contest winner with a disability.

"There's really no reason why they should be excluded or made to have to do special camps, special trips special sports, I mean I understand that, that we want to protect our kids and make sure they are in a supportive environment, but ultimately they're going to have to go off into the world," said Loreta.

FOX 12 spoke with the Boskovics back in April about their story and the family had teamed up with an attorney with Disability Rights Oregon.

Then on Friday, more than a month after Niko was disqualified, his family received good news.

Loreta confirmed Niko’s trip has been approved and the pair will set off to New York July 8. She gives all credit to Disability Rights Oregon for making it possible.

"They really were phenomenal in advocating on our behalf and just kind of dealing with all of the back-and-forth of negotiating and kind of figuring out all the details...it was wonderful," said Loreta.

New York won’t be their only stop.

Loreta also said Niko has been invited to take part in a conference in Washington D.C. called Motormorphisis, which features a panel involving nonverbal and minimal speaking adults on the autism spectrum who will share their experiences.

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