Gymnastics Autism Event Attracts Influential Family

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

"I get excited. It makes me feel good," said autistic gymnast Abby Hahn.

Three autistic gymnasts from across the state had a chance to perform infront of their idol, Olympic silver medalist Bridget Sloan.

"She is one of my favorite athletes. I shook her hand," said Hahn.

"It gives us a change to bring together autism and gymnastics under the same roof," said Larry Nassar, the founder of Gymnastic's Doctor Autism Foundation.

Dr. Larry Nassar is the physician for the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. He started a foundation for autism inspired by his autistic daughter. Nassar has seen first hand how gymnastics can help improve motor skills.

"It is better than any physical therapy or occupational therapy. It works really well. Most gyms don't even charge the special needs kids," said Nassar.

This awareness event is the first the Gymnastic's Doctor Autism Foundation has had in Michigan. It has already grabbed the attention of an influential new recruit, Lt. Governor Brian Calley and his daughter Reagan.

"I brought my daughter along to see where her interest is. It looks like I won't be able to get her out of here," said Lt. Governor Brian Calley.

Twistars Gym is now looking to add special needs gymnastics classes that 4-year-old Reagan Calley and others could start soon.

"Just like any child, it is good to start them young to see what they can accomplish," said Calley.

A portion of the money raised by ticket sales and donations will help fund autism research and treatment.

The Gymnastic's Doctor Autistic Foundation looks forward to its next awareness event in February with special guest Olypmic champion Lastia Liukin.

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