Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bearcat fan garners team's support

Here is one from the Daily Forum that ran earlier this week. Great family and a great story.

Bearcat fan garners team's support


After months of standing behind his favorite team as arguably their biggest fan, Creed Fox got some much needed support of his own from the Bearcat women's basketball team on Monday.

Diagnosed with high functioning autism in January, the Fox family got a crash course in what would change their lives forever.

"Creed ended up needing two years of kindergarten," said his mother Penni Fox. "We didn't think too much of it until we saw his scores from the first quarter of this year. So we did some research and had some testing done."

Though it's all still very new to the family at this point, his parents jumped at the chance to educate others as they themselves continue to learn about the disorder.

With a deep passion for Bearcat basketball, sparked by the fact that his father is the student assistant to the women's team, Creed already had a handful of important friends.

"He went to a lot of their practices and just loves hanging out with them," Penni Fox said. "They have always been so good to Creed and when we all found out he was autistic they were really concerned."

Being the good friends that they are to Creed and his family, seven members of the team stopped by Eugene Field Elementary School Monday afternoon to help Creed educate his classroom friends about autism. Creed also asked that the entire school wear blue in honor of World Autism Awareness Day known as Light It Up Blue.

"(Autism) is where your brain is wired a little different," Creed told his classmates.

His basketball buddies further helped him explain by reading books about autism to the students.

"Their whole family has been so great to the team and Creed is such a great kid," said Bearcat post player Candice Boeh. "We just want everybody to get along with each other, no matter if they have a disorder or not."

Boeh, with the help of Penni Fox, created a unique way to demonstrate that children with autism deserve to have friends just like everyone else.

With a package of M&Ms candies, she used each color to represent how each child can be different, be it by wearing glasses, needing a hearing aid, using a wheelchair or even having autism.

Boeh asked the students, "Are all of these M&Ms different?"

When they replied that they were indeed different, she then stated, "They may be different but they all live in the same package."

While his classmates may not fully understand why Creed talks repeatedly about tornados or picks up leaves from the playground instead of playing chase, they may now understand that he can be a great friend regardless.

"What he lacks, he makes up for in a different way," Penni Fox said. "Just today, his teacher asked if I knew he could count by threes and when I asked him about it he said, 'Well yeah mom, in basketball you have to be able to count by threes.'

I don't think these girls understand what an impact they have had on him. They continue to treat him normal and are just so good with him."

The team handed out some information about autism to the students including a coloring sheet letting parents know that the students have an autistic friend.

"We're lucky, in the grand scheme of autism that is," Penni Fox said. "My hope is that seeing these very important girls talk to them and show them that while Creed may be a little different from many of them that he is also much like them too."

1 comment:

Jim Sissel said...

Great article. We never know enough about others to understand human differences and similarities.

When someone parks in a handicap space and appears healthy we assume they are healthy. When someone staggers while walking we assume they are drunk.

Perhaps we need to accept what we see and not judge or comment. Many times my comments put my foot in my mouth.