Autism may be at the forefront of mental health news, but it also gives a brand new avenue to advocate for other special needs individuals.
This blog is largely centered around autism and my brother, but whenever special needs becomes the topic of discussion in the national media, I cannot help but smile most of the time. Some of the most entertaining and unique people I have met are special needs.
Autistic people are fun to be around. They have no filter and are so incredibly blunt with you. In a previous post, I said you’ll need a sense of humor when interacting with autistic people. That statement is also true with other special needs individuals.
I’ve said this many times in the past. People with down syndrome are the happiest bunch I have ever seen. I can not recollect a time where I saw a frown on someone who has down syndrome. I’ve actually come to believe that it is almost impossible for them to be sad.
A few days ago, I found a story on the Internet.
Thursday night the Cincinnati Reds had a special guest in the dugout with them. His name was Ted Kremer and he served as the team’s honorary bat boy during their game against the Miami Marlins.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Reds were up 9-1. With one out and a man on first base, Todd Frazier of the Reds stepped up to the plate. Prior to this, Ted had a small request. He wanted a home run from Frazier. This is what ensured.
Frazier said he was smiling before he hit home plate because he knew who would be there to congratulate him. As you can see, Ted brings so much excitement and enthusiasm to the Reds.
Sports seems to be the place for acceptance of special needs in today’s society. A few years ago, an autistic man sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park. When he started to get a little nervous, Red Sox Nation helped him finish strong.
E:60, a show on ESPN, aired a story that was raw and real. It tells the story of a father who was the All-American for most of his life, until he found out his daughter would be born with down syndrome. He struggled to cope with the realization that his daughter Paisley wasn’t “perfect.” As an avid runner, he found a way for him and his daughter to connect. He began running all kinds of races, pushing Paisley the whole way.
It is these stories that will hopefully bring universal acceptance of not only autistic people, but all special needs individuals.