After learning about the story of the first man with autism to ever receive a Division I basketball scholarship a friend of mine told me about the first man with autism to ever receive a Major League Baseball contract in Tarik El-Arbour. I was blown away. It was an incredible story. In a TEDxTalk I gave during my journey as a professional speaker which you can watch in the video below I talked about how during my journey on the autism spectrum where I said, “Autism can’t define me. I define autism.”
Quotes have power in our community I believe. Another quote that resonated with me that made me think of my quote is one I heard after reading an MLB article where Tarik’s mom said that she decided on the importance of focusing on Tarik’s abilities instead of his disabilities. This is something I constantly urge parents to look at. Focus on weaknesses and helping our loved ones progress but also never forget to help their kids find what their talents and strengths are.
Tarik was diagnosed with autism at 3, didn’t speak until he was 6 but when he picked up a bat at 10, everything changed. In 2018 he signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals. He is a left-fielder for their farm system who hopes will one day make it to the big leagues.
So happy for you Tarik and wishing you the best of luck as you pursue your dream of making it to the Majors!
Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education.
Have Kerry, one of the only professionally accredited speakers on the spectrum in the country, speak at your next event by sending him an inquiry here. If you have a referral for someone who many want him to speak please reach out as well! Kerry speaks with schools, businesses, government agencies, colleges, nonprofit organizations, parent groups and other special events on topics ranging from employment, how to succeed in college with a learning disability, internal communication, living with autism, bullying prevention, social media best practices, innovation, presentation best practices and much more!