My name is Taylor Duncan. I am 25 years old from Dallas, Georgia, and I have autism. I am also the commissioner/director of the Alternative Baseball Organization, a 501c3 authentic baseball experience for teens 15 plus and adults with autism and other disabilities to gain social and physical skills for success in life on and off the diamond. We have found a new manager to start a new program serving those throughout Jeffersonville.
On average, it takes six months to fill a team due to the lack of services available for teens and adults with disabilities in most areas, so the recruiting is going on right now. For us in this unique situation, it’s a perfect time to start the recruiting process. We are searching for more volunteers and players to help us proceed with our plans to begin post-pandemic in late Spring-early Summer 2021. Other local teams will include Chattanooga, Louisville, Indianapolis, South Bend, Chester County (PA), Philadelphia (PA), Wayne County (MI), Evansville, Fort Wayne, Greater Columbus (OH), and the Greater Atlanta teams, and several other teams in North Carolina. The organization provides equipment and resources to help such a program become successful.
When I was much younger, I had speech issues, anxiety issues, and more that came with having autism… I wasn’t able to participate in competitive sports due to the developmental delays, in addition to social stigma (preconceived ideas) from those who think what one with autism can and cannot accomplish. 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: To live with the goal to inspire, raise awareness, and acceptance for autism and special needs globally through the sport of baseball.
As many with autism graduate from high school in many areas, services plateau. In a lot of suburban and rural areas, 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 for those on the spectrum, I started this organization to give others on the spectrum/special needs the opportunity to be accepted for who they are and to be encouraged to be the best they can be!
The program follows Major League rules (wood bats, base stealing, dropped third strike, etc.), and is a true typical team experience for others on the autism spectrum and special needs to help develop social skills for later in life. Alternative Baseball is also planning its 2021 return with clubs throughout 33 states. In 2019, the organization was commemorated as a Community Hero at an Atlanta Braves game and has been featured on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight and NBC’s Weekday TODAY Show.
I wanted to let you know we are looking for new players and volunteers to help us start the new programs serving those throughout Jeffersonville and the surrounding areas. Players can be of all experience levels. We take them from where they start out (whether they require to be pitched to slow overhand or hit off the tee), and help develop their physical and social skills.
See our segment from ESPN’s Baseball Tonight here: http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=23353934. Also, please take at look at my TedXAtlanta talk on providing more opportunities in and outside of sports for those with autism and other special needs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0RGXug-WV4
Taylor Duncan, Dallas, Georgia, Commissioner/CEO/Executive Director, www.alternativebaseball.org