Tennis for autistic Chicago kids
Adaptive tennis serves athletes with disabilities

Sports are part of the fabric of our society. They bring people together, put a  smile on faces, and create lasting memories regardless of disabilities or ethnic background. Beck Saltzman, a teenager from Highland Park with Autism, is smashing the boundaries and making his mark in tennis.

Tennis Inclusivity for Autistic children, especially in the Chicagoland area

Tennis has been making strides in promoting inclusivity for Autistic children, especially in the Chicagoland area. In fact, within the past six months alone, there has been a significant 60% increase in adaptive tennis programs, and now 40 additional providers are offering adaptive tennis opportunities. This positive shift is thanks to the efforts of organizations such as the United States Tennis Association.

The United States Tennis Association Chicago reveals that they cater to more than 65,000 athletes across the country through this program, where almost 90% of them have cognitive or developmental disabilities.

The positive impacts of Adaptive Dennis for Autistic Children

Without such initiative, children with disabilities would be denied the opportunity to experience. In the case of Saltzman, the teen tennis star was initially not interested in picking up a racquet to the point that his parents had to incentivize him. However, things changed when he eventually found a passion for the sport. Nowadays, Saltzman is so dedicated to tennis that he spends seven days a week practicing on the court and has even declared that he no longer needs payment since playing is reward enough.

His mom, Staci Salzmana, expressed that her son, who has autism, deals with numerous challenges, and they were hoping to find an activity that would boost his self-esteem and provide physical and emotional support. As Beck himself pointed out, adaptive tennis gives him a sense of competence.

Young Athlete Overcome challenge

Executive Director of the CDTA, Jill Siegal, explained that many individuals with Autism learn best through visual methods, and repetition is crucial for their success. Perfectly exemplifying this, tennis is a sport that heavily relies on repetitive practice, hitting ball after ball.

In adaptive tennis, modifications can be made, such as using different types of balls, adjusting the size of the court, and even allowing for a double bounce. However, Beck prefers to play with the standard rules, stating, “I simply enjoy playing the game as it is.”

The young athlete has also successfully overcome challenges in various aspects of his life. Whether it’s making new acquaintances or excelling academically, tennis has aided him in letting go of past worries. According to Staci, tennis is the only activity that doesn’t cause him anxiety, and he devotes time to it every day.

Autism Support & Treatment

As more accommodation initiatives are continuously being introduced into typical sports, many organizations and centers have also stepped up in spreading awareness concerning Autism.

Illinois Autism is among the leading ABA therapy centers in Chicago, providing support and therapy for individuals with Autism. Get to our services here, and we hope to make a positive impact.