My name is Taylor Duncan. I am 23 years old from Dallas, Ga., and I have autism. I am also the commissioner/director of the Alternative Baseball Organization, a 501(c)(3) authentic baseball experience for teens 15-plus and adults with autism and special needs across America. We are searching for coach/managers and volunteers to help us start a new program in Asheville.
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 or a disability can and cannot achieve. 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 America’s pastime.
I started this organization to give others on the spectrum/special needs the opportunity to be accepted for who they are, to be encouraged to be the best they can be and to instill the confidence needed for those to be successful on and off the diamond. The program itself goes way beyond what basic stuff like wins, losses and statistics can show. Some players, because they were given the opportunity to try their best, have gone on to build desires to become employed and to learn how to drive behind the wheel of a vehicle. 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 learn physical and social skills for life on and off the diamond.
Alternative Baseball has been featured on national media including CNN’s HLN, ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight,” NBC’s “Today,” among many local affiliate stations across the country. The program is expanding across the United States with new clubs forming in greater Atlanta (Cobb County, Dallas, Newnan, Atlanta/Buckhead); greater Chattanooga (Chattanooga, Cleveland); Athens, Ala.; Phoenix; greater Washington D.C.; Spartanburg County, S.C.; Jersey City, N.J.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Columbus, Ga./Phenix City, Ala./Auburn, Ala.; Jupiter, Fla.; Ormond Beach, Fla.; Philadelphia; and greater Charlotte; with many more in the works!
Thank you for your time! Please visit www.alternativebaseball.org for more information.
— Taylor Duncan