Baseball league for players with special needs

- 22-year-old Taylor Duncan knows baseball. He follows the sport at every level. But as much as he loves the game, he wasn't always given the opportunity to play.

He played one year of youth baseball. While his team lost nearly every game, he says he learned more than he ever imagined.

But as he grew older and had new coaches, things got tough.

"Once he learned that I had autism, it was like 'okay you're sitting the bench,'" said Taylor of one of his coaches.

Taylor was diagnosed with autism at age 4. He admits growing up wasn't always easy. 

"I had speech issues, sensory issues, anxiety issues, as well as the social stigma growing up. In fact, I couldn't play competitive sports due to the developmental delay, as well as coaches perspectives of what one may or not be capable of."

 

But the Georgia native knew he could do anything. He had the support of his mom and mentors to go after his dream. 

"I came to the idea that if I was going to play I would have to coach my own team."

And that is exactly what he did. As a teenager, Taylor started a team in a local church league. 

After finding success with and impressing his teammates, Taylor furthered his mission and founded The Alternative Baseball Organization, Inc.

The reason why was simple. He says he wanted to provide these positive experiences to others with autism and special needs.

The developmental baseball program is for teens and adults ages 15 and older. Each player is coached in a way that best meets their needs.

"We want to accept them for who they are, we want to instill the confidence in them to fulfill their dreams and we want to encourage them to be the best they can be, said Taylor proudly.

"They not only learn the physical skills, and they get some exercise. But they also learn the social skills they need to be successful as they get older."

The league started in Georgia back in 2016 with about 6 to 8 players. Since then, Taylor's mission has caught on big time.

"We got a lot of interest from different communities across the United States, like 'woah how can I get involved in this?' said Taylor, who thought that was pretty cool. 

Now, there are teams established in nine different states, including New Jersey. Alternative baseball will be coming to Jersey City in the Spring of 2019. 

"I really hope that I'm making my communities proud," said Taylor. "I feel proud and it just warms my heart to see all these people become really successful thru our program."

Taylor hopes to bring this program to as many people as possible, and wants to expand to more cities across the Tri-State. 

In the meantime, the organization is recruiting both players and volunteers. They are also looking for donations so they can provide teams the assistance they need to be successful. 

If you are interested in learning more, please visit https://www.alternativebaseball.org/

Taylor also encourages futures players, families and volunteers to give him a call at: 770-313-1762
 

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