I am the parent of an autistic child. I never imagined he would have the kind of life a typical child has. I also never imagined he would ever be part of an athletic team, partly because he is not only autistic, he is also learning-impaired.
Last night I went to the first basketball game I was able to attend because my job keeps me away from home a lot. I have to say I am incredibly impressed with the coaches for this team. They have gotten the entire team to support my son and teach him how to play.
The reason I never imagined him on a team was not because I felt he was incapable. I thought the teams would be incapable of accepting him. This one school in this small Vermont town has shown me there is still some humanity in the world. My son’s teammates are equally as incredible as the coaches.
He didn’t play much, only the last minute or so, but it was a minute I won’t forget for a long time. There was some murmur in the audience about a “retarded” child on the team and how they could allow it. I guess I can’t expect everyone to understand, but I do know there is hope for humanity.
These coaches and these players are learning that there are ways to be winners and there are ways to be losers, and it doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says.
However, for this game they were victorious. I hope some day the spectators will see the purpose of having someone as special as my son teaching the team about teamwork. We can all learn a valuable lesson from Poultney High School. Way to go, team.
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