Child With Autism Makes the Special Olympics Team, Participates in Tae Kwon Do, and Improves Interactions With Peers

Schererville, IN – Nov. 6, 2012 – ASDF, a national organization that provides direct support for children living with autism, has helped make life better for Ryan McGrath and his family.

Ryan was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder when he was very young, and has since required specialized care to assist him in developing the necessary skills typically acquired by children in the natural course of social interaction and learning.

The incidence of autism has been steadily growing in the United States, as the Centers for Disease Control now report that one out of every 88 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. For Lisa McGrath, Ryan’s mother, getting the regular help he needs was a struggle until she encountered ASDF.

“Finding ASDF when Ryan was four years old was the silver lining after learning about my son’s diagnosis,” said Lisa. “I found an organization that was willing to really listen to my concerns and offer help. Up to that point, I found opposition and had to complete so much paperwork just to get a response that there was no funding available. My experience with ASDF was the opposite.”

Learning to swim is an important part of development for every child, and can be especially difficult for children with autism who often lack the social skills needed to effectively participate in swimming lessons with their peers. Autistic children can benefit greatly with personalized instruction from professionals who are specially trained to help children with autism learn to swim. Unfortunately, this level of care comes at a price that many families such as Ryan’s cannot afford on their own. Understanding his unique needs, ASDF provided the financial assistance for Ryan to attend swimming lessons at Lydon Aquatic Center in Danvers, Massachusetts. Since beginning swimming lessons, Ryan has gone from being hesitant in the water to swimming the 50-meter backstroke.

Ryan’s progress has been so great that he has even made the Special Olympics team. With the assistance of ASDF and the swim coaches at Lydon Aquatic Center, Ryan continues to train and will be able to officially compete in the Special Olympics next year when he turns eight years old. “Due to ASDF’s generosity my son has learned the basic skill of swimming,” Lisa said. “Ryan has made long lasting friends and enjoys the camaraderie of being part of a team.”

ASDF has also provided funding for Ryan to participate in a social skills summer camp each year, where he has learned to initiate social interactions with peers and develop numerous life skills. Lisa has also been able to enroll Ryan in Tae Kwon Do classes and Cub Scouts where he can interact with many of his school classmates in an outside school environment on a weekly basis, which supports his need for social interaction and helps build his expressive language.

ASDF says it looks forward to providing more assistance to Ryan in the months and years to come so he can continue to develop and improve important life and social skills. Lisa agrees. “I am forever grateful for the assistance ASDF has offered to my son.”

About ASDF: ASDF is a charity that supports children with autism spectrum disorders by providing education, information, and financial assistance to their families and relevant community service organizations. Funds donated to ASDF are used to address any and all kinds of issues in assisting children with autism and their families. Visit, email, or call 877.806.0635 for more information and to see how you can help.

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