Meet Corbin Darling, a volunteer from our Pittsburgh program. “I’m very passionate about advocacy, especially for autism so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” the father of two explained.
On top of being an avid tennis player, Corbin also mentions that he has a connection with autism as he has family members on the spectrum. “I don’t think there is a program like this in the country that’s as transformative as this for the participants but also for the volunteers,” the medical student states.
As he goes deeper into his involvement with ACEing Autism, he recalls that even though he had experience with autism, he was still anxious before his first clinic. “I was mostly anxious about the athletes having a good time and feeling comfortable,” he laughs.
But as he got more familiar with the program, he realized that he still had a lot to learn about the program and autism. “I was pleasantly surprised by the full spectrum of the students. I went into it thinking we would get kids from 5 to 12 years old but we have teengers, kids in their twenties. I thought that was absolutely amazing!”
He then continued to go into details about what he’s learned. “I only have experience with the spectrum of autism that I know in my family, so it was cool to get to experience more and get challenged to meet them where they are,” the cheery dad of two girls tells us. “It allowed me to see another aspect and become an even better advocate moving forward.”
Corbin then happily expands into what he’s learned about himself over the last seven months he’s been a part of ACEing Autism. “It gave me the opportunity to change my approach on how I coach because you don’t speak the same way to a 5 year old than an 18 year old,” the now Court Lead chuckled.
“I’ve also learned how to adapt, coming up with things to ensure a happy environment. Something that struck me is also the importance of consistency, and how it brings results, not just with the program, but in any part of life.”
The final part Corbin wants to mention is the importance of having a basic conversation. “They build trust, and I can see the kids are excited to see me and I’m excited to see them. It’s a great way to build relationships and I’m incorporating that into my own professional life.”
As we wrap up our conversation, Corbin wants to leave us with this thought. “I was so amazed by the fact that this program breaks down the misconceptions that you can have about autism.”
Congratulations on all your achievements and thank you for your continued dedication to our ACEing Autism families!