GRAFTON—Taylor Duncan, a 25-year-old man from Dallas, Georgia, has a desire of helping other individuals overcome their disabilities to gain social and physical skills for success in life.
Duncan, who was diagnosed as autistic, suffered from speech and anxiety issues, along with developmental delays, that often go hand-in-hand with the diagnosis. He shares that because of these issues, he was unable to participate in competitive sports.
“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,” he expressed.
To do so, he has been commissioning the Alternative Baseball Organization. The Alternative Baseball Organization (ABO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that produces baseball experiences for teens 15 years of age or older and adults with autism and other disabilities.
ABO fosters a love of athletics in over 30 states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and they are beginning preparations for their late Spring start dates.
“We also have many more teams in Georgia and North Carolina tentatively set to start in late Spring-summer 2021,” Duncan revealed. “We are different from other programs in that teams travel to other areas, play on traditional high school size fields, and play using the same rule-set as the pros on television. The organization provides equipment and resources to help such a program become successful.”
Duncan is looking to field a team here in North Central West Virginia and is looking for coaches, team managers, players, and umpires to start sometime in late spring/summer of 2021.
ABO distinguishes itself from other programs in that teams travel to other areas, play on a traditional high school size field and play using the same ruleset as the pros on television. The organization also provides all the equipment and resources to help with the program.
“The program follows Major League rules including the use of wood bats, base stealing and dropped third strike 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,” Duncan noted.
He reported that it typically takes six months or longer to field a team, so the recruitment process begins in late winter, allowing the program to be fleshed out by early spring.
Duncan disclosed that the ABO accepts players of all experience levels.
“We take them from where they start out at, whether they require to be pitched to slow overhand or hit off the tee, and also help develop their physical skills,” he shared.
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.
“There is this social stigma or preconceived ideas from those who think what one with autism can and cannot accomplish, and it is my goal to help get rid of those,” Duncan imparted.
For those interested in helping or volunteering with this stellar organization, please contact Duncan via phone at 770-313-1762 or by emailing [email protected]
For more information, be sure to visit www.alternativebaseball.org.