Until my son started playing hockey, he had never had any desires to play any sort of group sports. He was 12 years old at the time, and was carrying multiple diagnoses of BiPolar Disorder, ADHD & Asperger's Syndrome. He never had the patience to learn, & quite honestly, most players and coaches of the teams we tried just didn't have the patience for him. I learned about ASHA from another mom on an adaptive baseball team we were trying out. Since Tristan's cousin plays (sledge) hockey, we decided to just go for the session & see what it was all about. That was 4 years ago. Even though he had never skate on the ice before, he was up & at it & ready to go! Everyone has patience beyond paitence for him and all the kids - and the kids have so much patience & support & "team" with each other!! Where was once a kid who despised group activities before this, now stands a confident, friendly outgoing young man who will do anything for anyone involved, not just his particular team, but anyone at all with ASHA. The "normal"-ness he now feels when he's out on the ice is amazing. I could never stand out there with him, because hearing my son talk about his friends - his hockey family, as he calls them - melts my heart each and every time. I just really cannot imagine my son's life without his hockey.
Where do I start with how much America special hockey has helped my child? My son started to play special hockey 3 years ago. He has a dx of High functioning Autism/ Asperger syndrome. Shawn has never " fit in " until he started to play hockey. He feels that he is part of a " real team " and has become a team player! The friendships that he has made will last a lifetime. Special hockey has made a HUGE difference in who he is today! He stared out as an overweight child and now has lost weight and is a healthy happy child! He loves NOTHING more than being on the ice with his friends, and coaching staff. They NEVER let him give up and give him the self confidence he has always lacked! I now am watching my son help other children that are just starting out on the team that he plays for! Just this past weekend we were in Columbus, Ohio playing another wonderful team. I watch my son help a few kids on his team score a goal. The fact that he was looking out for another player was wonderful ! When Shawn first started playing hockey I always joke and say he started out ' laying ' on the ice! He had no idea on how to skate... Looking back to where he came from to what a player he is now, is just AMAZING! How American hockey has helped me as a parent? I will say that it has helped me network with other parents and I too have made so many friends. We look forward to going to games, it's like a family vacation for us. I've met some of the best people you could ever ask for! American special hockey has done more for us as family than you will ever know! Thank YOU! Kristin Gallagher