Man with autism uses track & field to springboard life achievements

(WXYZ) -- For Ron Sandison, whatever he puts his mind to, he excels in.

Reminiscing through a scrapbook, brings back all sorts of memories, both good and bad.

Sandison is a highly functioning man with autism who is a banner man for the phrase, my disability will not define me.

 “That’s one of the things I’m teaching parents, can, not can’t. Focus on that gift, develop that gift, use that gift, autism is refine, not cured,” Sandison said.

Before Sandison received a master’s degree, his first love, track and field captured his world.

 “I had another great gift, and it was running. I could run faster than all the other kids i would meet,” Sandison added.

But Sandison faced another hurdle, his age. By rule, the MHSAA will not allow 19-year olds to compete in high school. Because he was held back as a youth, he was told the devastating news he wouldn’t be allowed to race his senior year.

“I remember tears were rolling down my eye but it also made me feel even more determined,” Sandison recalled.  

And the fight never stopped, eventually, Sandison was able to compete during a drawn out legal battle with the state, however the rule was never changed, as it was considered moot a step below the Supreme Court.

 On cam - he just completed his book, ‘A Parent’s Guide to Autism’, and maintains a national voice for autism awareness as he continues to break barriers.

“I learned from the experience that advocacy is needed, that many people view autism as just a different way of processing things that is not necessarily good, but i learned through therapy, through the help of my parents, through developing my gifts that nothing is impossible,” Sandison added.

All these values learned, from running in circles.

 

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