Athlete – KEEN Greater DC-Baltimore (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now)
Deion is a 22-year-old young man who happens to have autism. He also happens to be one of KEEN’s first athletes to join KEEN Sports when KEEN expanded from its Montgomery County, Md., roots, to offer programs in Washington, DC, 11 years ago. At that time, he was a shy and rigid kid. Since participating in KEEN’s Sports, Music and Basketball Clinics programs, Deion has become more social and accepting of change. KEEN’s inclusive environment and one-to-one volunteer support have helped Deion make life=altering changes in his socialization and motor skills.
KEEN is person centered. What a KEEN athlete does at a program depends on his or her interests and fine and gross motor skills challenges. Activities are modified as needed, so each KEEN athlete can be successful in his or her efforts and build confidence. Deion is unable to play on a basketball team, at this time, because of the multiple steps involved, but he loves the sport and chooses to work on his basketball skills at KEEN. He is a mean shooter!
In December 2016, Deion transitioned out of school and missed the routines and his classmates. As he waited to make the change to adult programs, KEEN has remained a constant in his life, which has helped him keep a part of his routine and has enabled him to see his friends. And that has made him very happy.
For his mother, Michelle, the ultimate perks of being a part of KEEN have been, so far, meeting and networking with parents, and some of the special events Deion has been able to do with KEEN, including visiting the White House and meeting First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama, participating in a football event at the Redskins training camp, attending a Redskins game, and meeting Olympic gymnast Dominque Dawes. To learn more about KEEN, visit www.keengreaterdc.org