Today I was fortunate enough to volunteer at the Easter Egg Hunt For Acceptance of All Abilities put on by Autism Empowerment and The Miracle League of Vancouver. It was an amazing family friendly event with many great volunteers and vendors, all working together to make this day special for children with special needs and their families. It was great meeting new people and telling them about Specialty Athletic Training. With all the fun, also came with some challenging moments.
I was working at the registration table and helping sign people into the event. There was a little boy who had been waiting in line for over thirty minutes. He had Autism and was visibly upset that he was still waiting in line, which was in direct sunlight of the hottest day of the year to date. When they arrived at my table, his dad seemed embarrassed and said, "He has his good days and some days he is just on one." I responded by saying, "We all have our good days and our bad days. I would be frustrated too if I had to wait in line for over thirty minutes, in the sun, before I could hunt for Easter eggs."
Later on in the day, when I was at the Specialty Athletic Training resource table, I had a mom ask me, "Do you work with problem children? Sometimes my kid refuses to get up and will be physical. Can you work with him too?" Her child was also on the ASD spectrum. In my mind there is no such thing as a problem child, just a child that is not understood. Everyday presents an opportunity to educate and advocate!
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CFNS, is the head trainer and founder of Specialty Athletic Training. He is President of the Autism Society of Oregon's Board of Directors and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, as well as by the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) as a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Ryan has worked with individuals with special needs since 2007 and has over 10,000 hours of 1:1 instruction working with individuals that have various special needs.