Kristen Davis, a basketball coach in Kansas City, Missouri, has created a tournament specially designed for students with autism.
According to a report this month by KMBC.com, Davis, whose son Bryton has autism, said she was inspired to create the tournament, titled “Assist for Autism,” due to her understanding and appreciation of the challenges faced by young adults with autism.
“I know some of the challenges that I've faced raising a special needs child," Davis said. "There's any number of special gifts that those kids have to offer that maybe the rest of the community isn't necessarily aware."
Davis founded KC Premiere Basketball, whose website describes it as the largest provider of youth basketball events in Kansas City. She also hosts “Assist for Autism,” which features dozens of local teams, and acts as a fundraiser for the Park Hill School District special education department.
For the past several years, Davis has received assistance in running the tournament from Josh Dorr, the Head Girls Basketball Coach at Park Hill South High School. In its report, KMBC noted that Hill and his players participate in a clinic held for children with special needs on the first day of the weekend tournament.
Davis said that for him, the most rewarding aspect of the tournament is promoting acceptance and understanding.
“The more awareness and understanding we can bring to the situation, then the more chance we have to kind of rally around each other and work together as a community,” he told the news outlet.
The tournament’s organizers hope to raise $20,000, according to KMBC, and are accepting silent auction items through Wednesday. The clinic was held on Friday, May 31, at Park Hill South High School.