It all started in 2006. As the father of twin boys with autism, I would soon learn that they were natural and gifted athletes and runners. As I watched from the sidelines as they competed in mainstream races with volunteer coaches guiding them along the course, my pride for them was exploding! Although they are both severely autistic, non-verbal, with very challenging behaviors, they can run. And they enjoy it. Alex has a real gift, running his first marathon at 3:27:47. Jamie is slower but steady, running his best 5K at 25:00. Running suddenly took on a purpose for them, and for us as a family. > Click here for full story
I started coaching Alie with Kevin in 2010. My wife Danielle and I have been close friends with the Schneiders for years. Danielle worked with the twins in their home from the time they were 8 years old until they were 16, providing ABA therapy and subsequently speech therapy for Alex and Jamie. Our families have remained close since then. In fact, my children, Oscar and Amelia, love coming to races to cheer on Alex and Jamie with homemade signs. > Click here for full story
I thought nobody, and I mean nobody, looked forward to a run as much as I did - until I met Alie. I don't know much about autism, but I know Alie's got it and got it bad. Unlike most of my friends with autism, many of whom have girlfriends, boyfriends, drive cars, hold down jobs, Alie most likely won't ever experience any of these. And though he can assemble one thousand piece puzzles (never looks at the box), play the piano, and run 18 minute 5K's; he can't safely cross a street by himself. But three days a week he experiences a runners high that few get to feel.