Monday, August 15, 2016
Help me to Help Them!!!!
Calling on all family and friends!!!!! D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. means the world to me. It is my dream to create a place where individuals with Autism and their families feel at home! We have had three successful seasons of Challenger baseball and want to expand programming!
If I was asked 11 years ago where I thought I would be in 10 years, I would never have imagined I would be a mother of three children and the founder of D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. a non profit organization that provides sensory friendly sports and recreation programming for individuals with Autism.
When Donovan was diagnosed, even though I suspected and I asked for him to be assessed for Autism, I still wasn't ready to hear that he indeed had Autism. I educated myself and I asked a million question to anyone I met that had any knowledge of Autism.
In the beginning when Donovan was much younger it was bit easier to go out. He had very few stims or behaviors that would make him standout, but as he got older and his stims increased or his behaviors became a bit more noticeable for his age, trips to the local park became difficult for me. For fear of how others would perceive him and my reaction to them, I went out less. I began to try to protect Donovan, and keep him in a bubble so to speak. It wasn't until my husband said "stop holding on to him and hovering over him. Let him go play" Soon after my daughter Devynn pointed out the discrepancies on how I parented her and Donovan. "Mom, why doesn't Donovan have to clean the room?" And just like that my propellers came to a halt and I realized, that Donovan was a child before he was Autistic. I had to allow him to be a child and not a diagnosis! He was capable of anything, he just needed the opportunity to try.
A little more than three years ago, we went to watch my nephew play baseball. At the end of the game, Dono came to us and said "I want to play baseball." My not so verbal autistic son spoke in a full sentence and he wanted to play baseball! I searched for a league that was tailored to his needs. We ended up joining a league up in Westchester. The league was set up so that children who weren't ambulatory could play as well. So there wasn't any dirt or grass on the field. It was a beautiful field, and all the kids got to play, but living in the Bronx and juggling the schedules of all 3 children was very difficult. We asked Donovan if he liked it and in his sweet monotone voice he said "Yep" Then we asked "Do you want to come back?" and he answered "Nope". My husband and I looked at each other with surprise. We asked him, "Why don't you want to come back?" His response was "I want to play real baseball".
We went back a few times, but I couldn't help but notice the stress on the other parents faces. Most of all I couldn't help how I felt. I was hoping to meet other families and feel like we were accepted. The staff weren't very engaging with the parents, and I didn't feel comfortable.
I decided to approach a childhood friend who was coaching at the league that sparked Donovan's interest in baseball. I asked if they would let us use one of their fields. I just knew that if my Donovan wanted to play, there had to be more children who wanted to play too. They were open to the request and gave me a field to use. It was so important to me that the challenger program be tailored to our children's needs, but feel like typical baseball. I wanted the children to be comfortable, but I also wanted parents to feel comfortable. I needed them to know that their child was an individual and not just a number. In May of 2013 we opened our first season of challenger baseball at Bronxchester Little League and this past June 2016, we ended our 3rd season.
When the season ended I always felt sad. I wanted to offer more than just baseball. I wanted to create more programs that our children and families could benefit from. I incorporated D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. with the hope of building a village. I pride myself on that I facilitate programs and events where our children can be themselves, and parents do not have to explain their child's behavior to anyone! Where judgement is unacceptable and understanding is in abundance.
At D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. I look to spread Autism Awareness, but I hope for acceptance of Autism. I want to provide much needed programs and events to my community of the Bronx. Please help me to continue to provide challenger baseball and expand our events and programs. Donate to D3 sports & Recreation Inc. Donate Here!
In the New York area on September 30th, 2016, consider coming to our Flash Back Friday for Autism!!!!
By Purchasing a ticket or two you will be helping fund our program and receiving entrance to an amazing night out, delicious food/drinks, amazing hits from the 80s/90s, and a chance to win an iPad!!!!! Click on the link to purchase your ticket online or contact me directly to purchase in advance!
I thank you all in advance for your continued support!!!!!
Don't hesitate to post and share!!!!!