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20 points

2006-03-06 21:56:32.652951+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

I don't know if this has been all over the net yet or not, but Dave forwarded it around last week, I skimmed the article, and on Sunday's hike he said "no, really, watch the video". So, 5'7" autistic kid loves basketball, tried out for the team, never made it, so he's the team manager, towel handler, water boy:

But he was so enthusiastic, so committed, that coach Jim Johnson decided to suit him up for the final regular season game of the year. If the team was ahead, he thought, maybe McElwain could get in a few minutes.

So, yeah, the team got ahead, and the coach decided to put him in the game, and... There's five and a half minutes of video linked from this article, and because in a year or two there'll undoubtedly be an overly sappy movie made of what happened next it's worth going and watching this whole thing go down, from the heartbreak of his first shakey airball that quickly transformed into a twenty point streak, of which 6 of those baskets came from deep in three pointer territory.

[ related topics: Sports Video Handicaps & Disabilities ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-07 17:38:49.320293+00 by: ziffle

'Autism' is a trumped up condition designed to stop free thinking and otherwise unpopular behavior. I wonder if Einstein would not have been medicated if he were young today.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-07 18:22:48.888021+00 by: Dan Lyke

Actually, I think autism is a symptom based diagnosis. Autism spectrum disorders are similarly symptom based diagnoses, and are often artificially grouped and applied overly broadly because there's funding for those diagnosed as autistic.

But there are those diagnosed as autistic who clearly function differently, but are no more functional than those suffering from any of the other severely developmentally disabled.

On the other hand, I can't tell from the few clips on the video anything about this kid, so I'll accept that, yes, "autistic" is overly broad.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-07 19:30:04.21471+00 by: Diane Reese

I saw some clips of a court-side interview with Jason a few days afterwards. He had a noticeable shifting visual focus (none of it involving direct eye contact) and an odd speech pattern, with physical tics. As Dan says, symptom based. Has nothing to do with free thinking and unpopular behavior.

I heard one interesting statistic on NPR this morning, refuting recent indications that autism is on the increase in CA. Apparently if you review the number of autism cases reported in CA in a (some-number-of-years) period, the number of mental retardation cases declines in parallel with the increase in autism cases. The assumption is that rather than an actual increase in autism, many are merely being diagnosed now as autistic when they would have been diagnosed as mentally retarded in the past. (I am using the terms used in the audio piece.) If I can find the audio transcript, I'll edit to include a link here.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-08 01:44:26.196817+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, that's my impression of the alleged rise in autism, that it's entirely reclassification. I think what Ziffle might be responding to is that there is currently tremendous division as to what falls under "autism spectrum disorders". For instance, assorted researchers are moving Asperger's Syndrome[Wiki] out of the autism spectrum, but parents realize that keeping Asperger's Syndrome[Wiki] classified as autism lets them demand extra resources from the schools.