Hear Our Story
In the summer of 2008, my daughter Zoe was one of the first kids to help pilot ACEing Autism. She was 4.5 years old, had very few words and and even less ability to attend. Our first one-on-one session with founder, Richard Spurling, was pretty much a disaster. Zoe wouldn’t focus. She bolted all over the place. We couldn’t get her attention. She looked in every direction except the one we wanted. We were on clay courts and Zoe scooped up the clay and put it in her mouth. I can’t even describe how crushed I felt. I had played competitive tennis in college and always assumed my kids would both play and love sports. I started thinking up the excuses I would give Richard, fully expecting that he was about to utter what had become those all-too-familiar words, “Maybe she’s just not ready.”
But he didn’t. Instead, Richard said, “I think that was a good start. Will you come back again next week?”
And so we began on this path, slowly knocking obstacles out of Zoe’s way one at a time over these past 8 years. Sure, it’s been bumpy at times, but today Zoe hits running forehands and backhands with a smile on her face and has a killer forehand volley. My husband and I can take Zoe and her brother to the local tennis courts and play tennis pretty much like any other family.
I had just about started to take it all for granted when a new child joined Zoe’s clinic a few months ago. He had trouble focusing. There were some behaviors. It was tough to get his attention. His parents had to keep going on the court to help. His mother looked at Zoe and said to me, “Your daughter is so focused and follows directions so well. She’s so good at tennis and she is having so much fun. I don’t think my son will ever be able to do this.”
My mind wandered back to Zoe during that first session with Richard in 2008. Just then, Zoe hit a beautiful forehand, looked over at me, smiled and then turned to giggle with her volunteer as she scurried to get back in line for her next turn. Wow, I thought. Joint attention, shared enjoyment, social connection, motor planning, turn-taking, direction following, self-regulation, and just plain fun—all right here on display in one ACEing Autism clinic. I guess that day back in 2008 wasn’t such a disaster after all. It was the start of something great.
I hope ACEing Autism will be the start of something great for your family too.
Mira Tamir Spiegel – ACEing Autism Board Of Directors Member
Our tennis programs benefit your child in many ways, with the overall goal being to have FUN!
Our goal is to provide an hour break for parents during which you can watch your child develop into a tennis player! Our clinics aim to develop your child’s motor skills, hand eye coordination, build confidence and improve their general socialization, all within a FUN, controlled environment.
Our Program Directors typically have either tennis or autism backgrounds, sometimes even both! We aim to have tennis professionals run the clinics supported by at least one volunteer per child. Some children do great with one volunteer, others fare better with more or different types of support. We try to do what is right for your child. We feel it is our priority to provide a high level of attention to your child while he/she is enjoying tennis with ACEing Autism. We look for every opportunity to incorporate best practices for working with children with ASD into our clinics.
During all classes we provide a tennis racquet that your child can borrow and a t-shirt which they can take home. We typically include an award ceremony during the last clinic of each program session to celebrate each child’s unique and individual progress.
Have a look at our locations page to find a location near you.
ACEing Autism is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Your donations help us buy necessary tennis equipment, teaching supplies, pay for court time, support autism community events and invest in growing our program.
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2001 South Barrington Ave., Suite 320
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Make checks payable to: ACEing Autism