(WSYR-TV) — The stage is a magical place. It can take you on a roller coaster of emotion, but for some, it has some healing properties too.

That is the case for Rhys Natoli, a local boy with Autism. Rhys, who up until recently was almost completely non-verbal, has a full vocabulary after participating in the Syracuse Children’s Theatre.

“You would never know he was not verbal a few months ago,” his mom Kobie says.

It all began after a trip to Disney in October 2022. Rhys saw the performer and became enamored. His mother took notice and sought the help of Empowering People’s Independence (EPI).

One of the services EPI provides, is Self-Direction, which allows families to manage their budget and select the services they feel would be most beneficial for their loved one with disabilities. Through that program Kobie then enrolled Rhys in the Children’s Theatre and the classes were paid by his Self-Direction budget.

EPI provides progressive, tailored care solutions to people with developmental disabilities, epilepsy, and brain injury. They even have a camp that runs from July 23-29. To find more infor, or to register, visit epiny.org.