A new baseball league for teens and adults with autism and other disabilities is looking to organize in Ellis County.
Alternative Baseball Organization, a 501c3 non-profit concern, is looking for a volunteer coach/manager, volunteers, and players to help start new programs serving those in Ellis County and the surrounding area. Players and coaches can sign up at https://www.alternativebaseball.org/ .
This is organization is an authentic baseball experience for teens 15+ and adults with autism and other disabilities, which helps those with autism and other disabilities to gain social and physical skills for success in life on and off the baseball field.
Taylor Duncan, the commissioner and director of the program, is a 24-year-old with autism. "When I was much younger, I had speech issues, anxiety issues, and more that came with having autism. I wasn't able to participate in competitive sports due to the developmental delays, in addition to social stigma (preconceived ideas) from those who think what one with autism can and cannot accomplish," Duncan shared. "With the help of my mom, teachers, mentors, and coaches who believed in me, I've gotten to where I am today in my life: To live with the goal to inspire, raise awareness, and acceptance for autism and special needs globally through the sport of baseball."
Due to his experience growing up, Duncan took matters into his own hands and started the Alternative Baseball Organization.
"As many with autism graduate from high school in many areas, services plateau. In a lot of suburban and rural areas, there are no services for those to continue their path toward independence," Duncan said. "Realizing a lack of general incentive and opportunities for those on the spectrum, I started this organization to give others on the spectrum/special needs the opportunity to be accepted for who they are and to be encouraged to be the best they can be!"
Originally, the program was started in Dallas, Georgia. The ABO program follows Major League rules (wood bats, base stealing, dropped third strike, etc.), and is a true typical team experience for others on the autism spectrum and special needs to help develop social skills for later in life.
Additionally, the Alternative Baseball also has clubs in Greater Atlanta, Greater Charlotte, Greater San Antonio, Greater Huntsville, Chattanooga, Jersey City, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Ormond Beach, Upstate South Carolina, Macon (GA), and the Chattahoochee Valley (Columbus, GA/Phenix City, AL/Auburn, AL).
The organization was recently commemorated as a Community Hero at an Atlanta Braves game and has been featured on ESPN's Baseball Tonight and NBC's Weekday Today Show.
Players can be of all experience levels, Duncan said.
"We take them from where they start out at (whether they require to be pitched to slow overhand or hit off the tee), and help develop their physical and social skills," he said.
For more information on the organization or for volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.alternativebaseball.org/ .