The sound of squeaking shoes filled the elementary school gym. More than a dozen teenagers with autism were learning the fundamentals of volleyball under the enthusiastic guidance of the Oakland Women’s Varsity Volleyball Team.
Volleyball is a lot harder than it looks. It is all about coordinated team effort on both sides of the net. Teens on the autism spectrum learned many valuable skills, and they were not the only ones. It turned out to be a fun, enlightening experience for everyone involved.
Volunteer and volleyball player Taylor Hamm was ecstatic about participating in the program.
“I love how fun it is and how we get to play volleyball and share good times,” Hamm said.
Hamm also stated that it was a good opportunity to get away from school.
Not all of life’s lessons can be taught in a classroom. Working with teens on the autism spectrum was every bit as valuable to the volunteers as schoolwork.
Volunteer Dominic Carlini stated that the program participants always had a positive attitude towards everything. “They help you to appreciate the small things,” Carlini said.
All the participants had high functioning autism such as Aspergers Syndrome and Atypical Autism. While I observed, they learned how to serve and also got a decent scrimmage match going.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to really get to know people and have a lot of fun,” Hamm said.
The winter program may be over but there are more opportunities to participate in OUCARES volleyball. Click on the following link for more information: http://www.oakland.edu/?id=26054&sid=156.