Teenager with Autism Given Confidence Through YMCA 5K

December 02, 2013

Chase title

Meet Chase! A 13 year old teenage boy who is full of life.  He loves the drums and is taking piano, but he and his family discovered a new area of confidence this fall, running! In the fall of 2013 our organization embarked on a journey to raise awareness about the needs and lack of opportunities for physical wellness for those with special needs in our community by creating our #sproutfit campaign.

The Batten family with boys Julian (7) and Chase(13) who both have Autism and participated in the one mile kids run at the event. Here is their mom’s account of their experience:

Batten boys

“When I heard there was a special needs team running at the YMCA Pumpkin Run last month, I signed the boys up on the spot! I really can’t remember the last time I saw Chase, my teenage son, actually run. Both boys were so excited to get their Team Spout shirts before the race, and pose for pictures. Both were really excited when we walked out in the bitter cold and the race began.

What happened next…you could have knocked me over with a feather! Chase saw everyone start to run, and stopped in his tracks. He turned and looked at me and I asked him, “Do you want to run too?” and he looked at me and said, “YES!” and TOOK OFF!! Kristy, the boy’s ABA therapist, and I looked at each other and our jaws dropped! In the past, Chase has been a little nervous in crowds and tends to be clingy and insecure about being out of my sight. However during the race, forget it… all bets were off!  He was out of sight and around the corner before we could even react!! The three of us took off too, but he left us in his tracks!! When we got to the part of the run where they lapped the field and turned back, Chase was already around and passing us on his way back to the finish line!! Thankfully some friends were at the finish line and got to see him cross with a huge smile on his face!! He didn’t even ask where his mom and brother were, he followed the crowd, claimed his victory cookie, and waited patiently for us slow pokes to finish!

Pumpkin Run Cookies

After all the pictures and celebration we were chatting with some friends, and Chase came over and put his hand on my shoulder. My child that didn’t speak his first word until he was 5 years old leaned in and said, “Mom, I feel great!” I have a suggestion for next year! Please have a box of tissues at the finish line!”

When we heard this account we had to share it with you because this is what we hoped would happen from our efforts of sponsoring the race.  If you are a parent or interested in helping Sprout Pediatrics host more of these races and training events, please connect with us on our Sprout Peds Facebook page by messaging us!

We would like to thank @columbiaymca for their support and willingness to touch the lives of our families. The best is yet to come!

Pumpkin Run Team Pic

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