Teen with autism makes foul shot for Westminster Christian Acade - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Teen with autism makes foul shot for Westminster Christian Academy

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Matthew Hammond is a senior basketball player at Westminster Christian Academy. He's been a member of his high school team for the past four years and plays in almost every game. He practices daily with his teammates, runs drills, and even gets chewed out by his coach when he makes a mistake.

None of that would seem very remarkable, except for the fact that Matthew has Autism. Matthew's mother says that her son has had nothing but support from his teammates and his coach Grayson Standiford. Standiford has become more than just a coach. Through the years he has taken to the task of being Matthew’s biggest supporter, mentor, and friend.

Standiford has not let Matthew’s autism lower his expectations of what he can achieve as a player. Hammond's mother says Standiford has always treated Matthew as a team member, not a mascot.

The entire team understands that Matthew is their teammate and have been supportive on and off the court. They have made a place for Matthew, especially the senior players who have been with him since their freshmen year. Hammond's mother says the relationship between Matthew and his team is an example to everyone not just at Westminster, but also in the community that a disability is not a reason to exclude but an opportunity to include.

A video on Westminster Christian Academy’s Facebook page shows Matthew making a free throw in the last playoff game. That video has been shared across social media.

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