Baseball league for adults with autism, special needs hopes to expand to Texoma

Baseball league for adults with autism, special needs hopes to expand to Texoma

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Alternative Baseball is a national non-profit organization that allows adults with autism or other special needs a chance to play organized baseball and they’re hoping to come to Texoma.

In 2016, Taylor Duncan started Alternative Baseball in Georgia as a way of helping autistic adults like himself.

“I still faced a lot of preconceived ideas, negative perceptions and social stigma of what one with autism can or cannot accomplish. With the positive experiences I’ve had it was time for me to start this type of experience and provide this luxury for others who may not have had those same opportunities to play traditional baseball because we were all rejected from being able to participate,” Duncan said.

Once it was up and running, Alternative Baseball served as a great teaching tool for others just like him.

“Confidence, camaraderie, the social aspect, they are engaged with one another, they’re cheering each other on. They go through when I’m not performing so well, they have to go through those difficult situations. Again, they’re there to support one another, cheer one another on. They’re just happy to be out there playing,” said Dennis Szczybor, Manager of the Dallas Dynamos.

“The big thing too, is we learn the teamwork skills, the communication skills that are needed for life off the baseball diamond as well that can be adaptable into the wonderful world of employment as one gets older and takes the private sector by storm,” Duncan said.

Alternative Baseball is available for anyone with autism or other special needs above the age of 15. They hope to bring it to Texoma but need to get the infrastructure in place first.

“We need to find the coach-managers, we need to find volunteers to help the coach/manager because there’s no I in team as you know in team sports. We need assistant coaches, we need umpires,” Duncan said.

“It does take some time, there is commitment, there is patience that you have to bring to coaching a team with different levels of autism or special needs. It’s not just autism, but primarily that is it, high functioning. It’s very rewarding. It’s rewarding to coach in general but to coach adults and see them grow and just engaged and always looking to have fun, laugh, smile and not get frustrated. You don’t see that, you just see the fun in the game,” Szczybor said.

Duncan said they are ready and willing to put resources into any town in North Texas or southwest Oklahoma who is willing to give them a chance.

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