J-Mac makes points for autism

Just found out that the theme for the Valentine’s Day Larry King Live TV show this Thursday is The heartbreak… and hope of autism. Guests slated for the show that night include Holly Robinson Peete, Doug Flutie, Toni Braxton and Jason “J-Mac” McElwain.

If you ask me, McElwain is sure to be the biggest star of the show. J-Mac has autism, and he received national attention after scoring 20 points in the last four minutes of his first-ever appearance in a high school basketball game. Six of his baskets were three-point shots.

If you look at the video of his performance you’ll see the crowd go wild just to see J-Mac enter the game. And then when he starts scoring — wowee! After the game, the crowd rushes down to carry J-Mac on their shoulders in triumph. It’s a triumph for the team, and a triumph for inclusion.

An ESPN story describes J-Mac’s achievement like this:

“There are thousands of families across the country, getting a diagnosis of autism for their 3-year-old; they look at Jason and have tears in their eyes,” said Dr. Susan Hyman, an associate professor for pediatrics at the University of Rochester’s Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities. “Because the image they have in their minds isn’t of some strapping young teenager making baskets from half court.”

“The hope and the promise this provides — it’s priceless.”

Larry King Live airs nightly on CNN at 9 p.m. ET. The CNN Web site encourages viewers to email them with questions about autism before the show.


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  1. Beth Finke, Blog Moderator Says:

    Wow! Had no idea he had a book out already. Thanks for the link — I’ll check it out.

  2. Fielding J. Hurst Says:

    That video never gets old. J Mac also has a book out …


  3. Beth Finke, Blog Moderator Says:

    Oh, Maurice, you are so right: you are one of the greatest superheroes! Only problem is: you are too humble. I talked to Patricia Wright the other day,
    she told me that in Vegas you added yet another NFL player to your fan club: Steven Jackson! Your blog said that Steven Jackson inspired you, Maurice, but
    from what Patricia says it was the other way around — you inspired Steven Jackson.    

  4. Maurice Snell Says:

    Hello, Beth!

    Once again, thanks to you and the Easter Seals team for publishing my blogs; they were well-written and precise. About your blog about J-Mac, this is THE autism story. I’ve watched that footage on ESPN over and over again; this story never gets old. We do not discard stories of autism; we all must know how we handle autism. To my surprise, he did something that not many people can do in this life, which is play the part of superhero.

    People with autism are superheroes, not from pulling game-winning shots or winning something, but inspiring many families and individuals across America. Like me and my autism, J-Mac inspires us to do what we can do to live a healthy life. As always, my best wishes go to the McElwain family.

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