Hello my name is Crystal Catherine Davis I am 24 years old and I have Autism Spectrum Disorder. I also have sensory issues and social problems. When I was in high school I tried everything to fit in with the other kids I joined clubs and sports in hopes I would fit in. Unfortunately, nothing I did stopped the teasing and hazing. As I got older the teasing continued until it became unbearable. I couldn’t even place an order at a restaurant and made things worse when I tried.
I joined the Belvidere NASR Pirates Volleyball team this year it was my first Special Olympics sport. There I met more people like me. I remember the first time I served, I messed up really bad and I ran off the court crying. The parents and some of my teammates came to comfort me. They made sure to make me feel welcomed and accepted. I had never felt that before. Soon I started being able to make friends and was even be able to order my own food. Special Olympics has been my light in a dark tunnel I thought I’d never get out of. I am proud to say I am a Special Olympic athlete and I will be playing Basketball next month! Because of Special Olympics, I learned social skills how to make friends but most importantly I learned pride in myself and I learned I am perfect just the way I am. I am Autistic and proud. Thank you Illinois Special Olympics for having these organizations for us!