All it takes is someone to believe in you and support your dreams of achieving a better life.
The sentiment has become the core mission of the Alternative Baseball Organization, a non-profit baseball league created by Taylor Duncan for the benefit of teens, 15 years and older, and adults with autism and other disabilities.
According to Duncan, AB was designed to offer these athletes the opportunity “to gain social and physical skills for success in life on and off the diamond.”
But before the teams that Duncan works hard to organize, can start a spring season, AB needs people who can help.
Already a success documented in coverage by ESPN and the “Today Show,” Duncan has a real winner on his hands.
“It takes six months to fill a full team due to the lack of catered services available in most areas for teens and adults with disabilities.” He said. “So, in spite of the pandemic, recruitment for 2021 has begun virtually. We are looking for a volunteer coach/manager, volunteers and players to help us start a new program serving those in Waynesville and the surrounding area.”
AB is different from other programs, Duncan explained, in that teams travel to other areas, play on traditional high school-size fields and play using the same rule set as the pros on television. The organization provides equipment and most resources.
“When I was much younger, I had speech issues, anxiety issues and more that came with having autism,” Duncan, who is 25, said.
“I wasn’t able to participate in competitive sports due to the developmental delays, in addition to the social stigma from those who think what one with autism can and cannot accomplish. But 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.”
As many with autism graduate from high school, Duncan said most services plateau. In suburban and rural areas, he added, there are no services for those to continue their path toward independence.
“Many travel to find the limited services which may or may not be available to their specific needs. Realizing a lack of general incentive and opportunities, I started this organization to give others the opportunity to be accepted for who they are and to be encouraged to be the best they can be.”