Jason McElwain's life changed on February 15, 2006. After being the Greece Athena High School basketball team manager throughout his high school career, he was finally given the chance to suit up and play in a game his senior year. During the last four minutes of the game, Jason McElwain managed to score 20 points, with six of those shots being three pointers. On top of that, Jason won an ESPY award for his feat and became a hero to many, but not for the sole reason that he had scored so many points in such little time. Jason McElwain also has high-functioning autism. Jason does not let autism control his life. He was able to prove that autism does not have to noticeably hinder any part of his life. And for that, he became a hero and role model to many autistic children.
According to Autism Society, autism can be described as a developmental disability that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. It affects each individual differently, but some popular symptoms of this disorder include: little or no eye contact, lack or delay of language skills, and lack of peer relationships. In addition, autism affects about 1 in 110 children and it is about four times more common for males to be diagnosed with the disorder than females. Unfortunately, this year autism will affect more children than AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined do. Yet according to Autism Speaks, autism still only receives about 5% of the research funding in relation to these other disorders and diseases. Fortunately though, there are many ways that we can personally help this cause. To help people like Jason McElwain, we can donate money, participate in autism events, or fundraise. To find out more information about these programs or to learn more about autism in general, click here.