Michael Williams was born severely autistic. Even when he was in his teens, he was unable to communicate, other than through screeching, and his parents had to be constantly on the alert for violent behavior. Without warning, he would bang his head against objects, bite into his own fingers or lash out at others.

Michael's parents tried any treatment that seemed to hold out the remotest hope of improving their son's condition -- but to no avail.

Then, in their home state of Florida, they heard about Betsy Smith -- one of the founders of dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) -- and went along to meet her.