Sports and Autism

Nadia Shanab | Uncategorized
18 May 2013

You may have watched the video about the autistic basketball hero, Jason McElwain. Jason is a special ed. student who used to be the team manager, helping the coach and the team with all they need. On the final game of the season, the coach decided to let Jason play the last 5 minutes of the game. Jason electrified and shocked the audience and his teammates with his outstanding performance, marking one shot in after the other. The coach was in tears and awe. Nobody could believe that Jason could achieve such a fabulous and exceptional level of performance.

Here is my observation. Jason has fluent speech, great communication and social skills. I deeply believe that his passion for basketball has empowerded and honed all these skills. Being on a team-game requires a lot of communication, cooperation, mutual understanding, perspective-taking, compassion, patience, and flexibility. Beside all these skills add to the list: discipline, organization, and temper control. A sport after all will keep the person healthy and fit.

I have repeatedly mentioned in previous posts that parents and educators should help the kids find their passion and allow them to express themselves through this passion.

  • A passion can lead to a career
  • A passion can make the person independent
  • A passion can turn a loner into a sociable and lovable person
  • A passion can uncover the hidden talents and capabilities

In Jason’s case the basketball sport has changed his life; eventhough he still is a happy and proud spectrum young man.

Give the kids a chance and never give up. Keep trying! Follow your heart. Follow your instinct.

Take your cues form your child, and she will lead you to what needs to be done.

nadia shanab

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