Sunday, April 14, 2013

Autism Understanding: Day 12

Baseball park
Joey jumps in
Sound of laughter

There's nothing quite like watching Joey on the baseball field. When we first started Challenger's Baseball, Joey knew nothing about baseball. He didn't know how to hold a bat, what a base was, or even how to run- at 6 years old, he was still using a toddler trot. He took to it like a fish in water. There were high school baseball players out helping, people cheering, and holy cow, it's fun! Joey lights up on game day. His running and movement improves drastically between the beginning and end of the season (unfortunately, he often doesn't retain that progress out of season). He thanks the "big players" for helping.

Our local program has expanded to 8 teams, so the smaller and older players are now separated. Joey moved up to the Big Kids teams this past fall. Unfortunately, his best baseball friend is a year behind him, and so no longer on his team. He got to see her Opening Day. He was overheard telling her, "There is nothing more important than our friendship!"

This summer, I am going to again attempt a little program to help Joey connect with friends and think about them, even when they are not immediately present- through letter-writing. I thought I might even set up an email account for him, so he can start thinking about how to use it and learn the rules of email use and etiquette. Joey is so social, and loves to be around people so much, I am hoping it will make him happy to continue to feel connected to people, even when they are not right in front of him. I thought a bulletin board with photos of his friends might even be a good visual cue for him.

I'll keep you posted. And maybe, just maybe, Joey will, too.

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