Recruitment for 2021 has begun virtually for a volunteer coach/manager, volunteers, and players to help start a new program serving those in Caswell County and the surrounding area for the Alternative Baseball Organization. There other Mid-South programs in Greater Chattanooga, Nashville, Huntsville, Auburn, Meridian (MS), Greater Jackson (MS), Shreveport (LA), Houston (TX), Kerrville (TX), Spartanburg, Anderson, Greater NC Triad, Greater Charlotte, Greater Atlanta, Columbus (GA), Savannah (GA), Charleston (SC), and Louisville (KY).
Alternative Baseball Organization, a 501c3 authentic baseball experience, for teens 15+ and adults with autism and other disabilities to gain social and physical skills for success in life on and off the diamond. It takes six months to fill a full team due to the lack of catered services available in most areas for teens and adults with disabilities. It is tentatively set to start in late Spring-summer 2021.
Taylor Duncan, a 25 year old from Dallas, Georgia who has autism, is the commissioner/director. He says, “So in spite of the pandemic, recruitment for 2021 has begun virtually. 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.”
When Duncan was much younger, he 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 graduating from high school in many areas discover, a lot of suburban and rural areas have no services for those to continue their path toward independence. Many travel to find the limited services that may or may not be available to their specific needs. Realizing a lack of general incentive and opportunities for those on the spectrum, Duncan 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 also has clubs in 30+ states that are also preparing for their late Spring start dates. 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.
In order to create a new program in Caswell County, they must find a coach/manager in order to begin. Players can be of all experience levels. The organization takes them from where they start out at (whether they require to be pitched to slow overhand or hit off the tee), and help develop players’ physical and social skills.
Check them out at http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=23353934.
Duncan has a talk on opportunities in and outside of sports for those with autism and other special needs at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0RGXug-WV4)
Commissioner/CEO/Executive Director Taylor Duncan may be reached at (770) 313-1762. Also visit www.alternativebaseball.org