Autistic student takes sports, achievements head-on
HOLLY LAKE RANCH, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas teen, who is special needs, is taking a number of challenges head-on.
In the middle of a martial arts class in Holly Lake Ranch is 17-year-old Christian Garrison, a very tenacious young man.
“Been in martial arts two years almost. I was a little bit nervous about it, but I got used to it,” he said.
“Once they get into the class, it’s kind of like they know they have friends,” said fellow student Kyle McCandless. “I think they see it more a like a family. Coming in to hone those skills every day helps with their confidence.”
Christian has autism spectrum disorder, with accompanying cognitive deficits, which impacts his ability to appropriately apply grade-level concepts and skills.
He learns differently, but he doesn’t let that stop him.
“Yeah, I want to get to black belt one day. That’s my goal,” Christian said.
He’s a special Olympian who has competed in track and field as well as basketball, among other sports.
He’s also become accomplished at martial arts, earning a green black belt in tae-kwon-do, even learning the rigid and demanding discipline of traditional Japanese sword.
“I don’t really have favorite parts. I like it all actually,” he said.
“I’m not surprised. I work with special needs people in my career. I’m amazed at what they’re capable of,” fellow student Kristin Hudson said.
Christian is a special education student in 10th grade at Harmony High School in Wood County.
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