With the turn of the calendar comes our latest addition to the Spautism Global Spectrum series, where we look back on the previous month’s stories involving autism and sport, from different parts of the world.
Here are some of our favourite stories from May.
If you are a regular reader of Global Spectrum, you will have noticed the various ways people set out to raise awareness and money for autism initiatives, and Mike Balzano from Ohio is no different. Balzano organised a fundraising event on 24th May that saw people complete 100 holes of golf in a 12-hour period at Elyria Country Club in Ohio, USA. The marathon has raised over $50,000 for Orange Effect Foundation, which provides speech therapy to children and young adults with autism.
Striving for education
In a recent article, Australian rules football player Elise Muller and senior lecturer Erin Leif at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, discussed the topic of sport and autism. Muller explained how the organised structure of elite sport is better suited to her autism, and a greater awareness of the spectrum is needed at every level to keep autistic people engaged in sport. This was backed up by Leif and the university, which worked with Muller to produce autism awareness courses for coaches, volunteers, teachers, and psychologists involved in sport.
With five state championship medals, Adam Marshall of Sauk Rapids-Rice High School in Minnesota, USA, was named the school’s male student-athlete of the year. After starting to participate in adapted sports following his autism diagnosis, Adam has not just played, but shown great talent in football, softball, and floor hockey. He now wants his story to inspire other children with autism to step into sport.
The South Africa-based Adult Programme for People with Autism began in 2015 and provides the opportunity for adults with autism to access support, get active, and develop coordination and teamwork skills through sporting games. The organisation currently has 14 members and meets at Craighall Park in Johannesburg, but plans to expand to an around-the-clock service with a welcoming, residential space for its members.