FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Local teens and adults with autism are going to have the opportunity to play ball this summer.
The Alternative Baseball Organization gives people with disabilities across the country the chance to develop physical and social skills.
And Fort Wayne is the latest city to get involved.
For Ashe Simpson, volunteering to be the team manager is about much more than just coaching baseball.
"Not only just sports, but it’s life skills too," Simpson said. "So to be able to be involved with that and to meet the needs of the special needs community, that to me sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime."
Alternative Baseball welcomes anyone age 15 and older.
That’s when League Founder Taylor Duncan says many physical and social services end for people with disabilities.
"It’s a problem really everywhere. There's nowhere even near enough services to fulfill all the gaps and all the needs for those across the disability spectrum," Duncan said.
"Because after you graduate out of high school and the 'Macho Man' Randy Savage music stops, well, guess what else stops: the services, because the state no longer has to provide them."
And Duncan, who has autism, knows firsthand how people tend to discount those on the spectrum.
"More so, it was the negative perception of what one with autism can and cannot accomplish," Duncan said.
"Do we learn the same way? No. Do you have to be a little more patient at times? Yeah, a lot of times, yes. But we can be taught to do the same things as everyone else."
So while the Fort Wayne team is still in its early stages of development, Duncan hopes with support, they can be ready to take the field in July.
"Every single bit of help from the community that we can possibly have, let’s make it happen. We need to find more volunteers to help Ashe in Fort Wayne, and in addition, let’s find the players too," Duncan said.
Anyone interested in getting involved can visit Alternative Baseball's website.
Simpson mentions he’s actively looking for a field to play on this summer as well.
Duncan also encourages the community to come up with suggestions for a Fort Wayne's team name on ABO's Facebook page.