Here is a brief article about one of the T4A athletes. This article was also featured in the Ventura County Star! Congratulations Luke! Keep it up!
Luke started running with the Ventura County Train4Autism group when we heard they were starting a group at Pepper Tree Park in the spring of 2012. He loved socializing with the group, and never missed a practice during that first summer. He gained confidence in his running with the support of volunteers who always ran with him at practice. He ran in a couple of 5K runs that year with the support of one or more runners that would run with him. He ran most often with Brian Thompson or Cynthia Conway for events such as the GatorRun and the Love Run. He tried some additional 5K runs the next year, including a run for his high school, the Groundhog Day run in Moorpark (where we live). He has continued to participate in these 5K runs, increasing his speed each year. Participating in physical activities such as this is often costly, but this group is run by volunteers so that we can continue to do it year after year. And the physical activity helps Luke feel better also.
He is very proud of becoming a runner. It's one of the few sports he can participate in with success, and it gives him something to talk about with others. He earns shirts that he can wear and finisher medals that he proudly displays in his room. He is especially proud of earning money for charities, which not only helped him earn community service hours needed for his recent graduation from high school, but it also allows him to feel like he is helping others. This helps him value himself more, which is not always easy to do for a teen with autism (he is 19 years old).