Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
refuses to let autism keep him from competing
Don’t pity Alex Bain because he can barely tie the laces of his running shoes.
In fact, don’t pity the 20-year-old Bain at all. He doesn’t feel any for himself; he’s too busy running marathons — 5Ks, 10Ks, 42Ks, anything to stay one step ahead of the autism which has dogged him for 17 years.
Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviour, all starting before a child is three years old. One of its effects on Bain is limiting certain fine motor skills, such as tying shoelaces. Just last year he stopped asking his mother, Janet Norman-Bain, to tether them.
But autism was far behind in his 45th-place finish at the P.E.I. Marathon is October. The Oyster Bed Bridge native completed his first full marathon in 3:29:29.
And iRun Magazine, an Ottawa-based Canadian running periodical, noticed. It included Bain in its inaugural 12-person list of the most inspiring runners in the country. Called the 2009 iRun Awards, the roll is featured in the magazine’s January issue.
There isn’t a flashy award ceremony or inscribed trophy or engraved mahogany plaque, just a copy of the magazine. But for Bain, it’s not about rewards, it’s about acceptance.
“It makes me happy and proud. The people saw I am a good runner and did a good thing. I hope this award will help me get to be an Olympic torchbearer and more people will learn about me,” said Bain in an e-mail interview. “People will read the magazine and see me on (television) and in the newspaper and learn that people with autism can do lot of things.”
iRun also noticed his tip-to-tip run of P.E.I. in July 2006 to raise money for autism awareness and risk and safety management. Bain, with his mother (who played support crew, videographer and shoelace binder) in tow, ran up to 25 kilometres per day.
The $6,000 raised paid for seminars by an expert (Dennis Debbaudt) who trains law enforcement and first responders in recognizing and responding to autism in emergency situations, bought training videos for every police and RCMP detachment in P.E.I. and placed a card explaining how to recognize autism in the wallets of Island law enforcement officers, first responders and school-age autistics.
On the pavement, Bain has won other awards like the P.E.I. RoadRunners rookie of the year, junior RoadRunner of the year and inspirational runner of the year.
It’s further proof the condition isn’t a barrier for the 2005 Bluefield High School grad. And it just might be a bridge over the chasm of challenges autism presents, a span he began navigating in elementary school.
“I wanted to be on the cross-country team in Grade 4,” said Bain of why he started running. “There are a few people I heard of that run. (Saint John’s) Chris Brake holds (the second-fastest) course record in the Fredericton, N.B., marathon (2:41:40 in 2005). At least two autistics were in the New York Marathon this year. Not so many on sports teams, (but) I don’t think there are physical limitations.”
Just pesky shoelaces, which occasionally come untied such as in a five-kilometre race in Charlottetown in June.
Bain didn’t stop.
He posted a personal best (19:07).
Autism isn't a disease, or a bunch of behaviours, any more than femaleness is. Autism involves neurological differences, which are basic and comprehensive. Autistic neurology is no more or less valid than non-autistic neurology: both autistics and non-autistics are able to develop, learn, progress, and achieve things, but may do so in different ways and may require different kinds of help along the way.
Progress is part of the natural course of development in autistics, as it is in non-autistics, but development in autism may not proceed in the same order as is considered normal for non-autistics. Autistics may, e.g., seem advanced in some areas and delayed in others. Seen in perspective, this means that in comparison with autistics, non-autistics are likely to be advanced in some areas and delayed in others. Non-autistics may need a great deal of assistance in learning things that autistics learn easily, and the reverse may also be true. Seeing as we don't declare non-autistics to be "succeeding in treatment" or "less severely non-autistic" or "recovered" when they develop and learn, it should be clear that describing autistics in these kinds of terms is misleading and prejudicial.
Autistics are alert and aware of what is happening around us, even though we may not be able to show this or respond in expected, typical ways. Autistics also may not communicate in typical ways, and in some situations, will find it difficult to communicate at all. However, this does not reflect a fundamental inability or unwillingness to communicate. Autistics want to communicate, and can do so when provided with a context in which communication is both possible and responded to. This is also true of non-autistics, but non-autistics are much more likely to be provided with contexts in which they can communicate successfully.
Dividing autism into "severe" and "mild", or in similar ways, is misleading and harmful. Autistics may differ in the extent to which autistic traits are or are not obvious, and this may vary in individual autistics from hour to hour, day to day, and year to year, depending on many factors, including on what kind of context an autistic lives in. The extent to which autistic traits are or are not evident in any individual autistic is unrelated to our intelligence and our outcomes as adults. However, societal prejudices against autistic traits may prevent autistics whose traits are more obvious from being considered able to learn, to communicate, to make decisions about our lives, to walk around freely, to be employed, etc.
Pervasive Developmental Disorders Specialized Clinic
Riviere des Prairies Hospital
University of Montreal
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It was the 21st birthday.
I get a cards and presents.
Afternoon I went to glow bowling and see Dianne and Elaine on the way.
I won two time in 3 games.
I had a blizzard treat, a pizza, death by chocolate cake.
I had root beer and corn chips and played my new Wii game Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.
Thank you for cards and presents and saying Happy Birthday on the blog and Facebook.
I had a very good birthday!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
It was sunny and -3 degrees.
The Turkey Trot on the parade route before the Santa Claus Parade.
There no whiteout like last year and clear this year.
I finish in 21:08 and I made the top 10 and came in 7th out of 50 runners.
Ryan Doucette won the race and Amanda Simmonds for the top female.
Munchies at the
Blue Fin after wards
chef Michael Smith made the soup.
I won a bowl and mom got
chef Michael to autograph it
for my sister Jasmine.
I won the turkey dinner for Christmas:
a turkey, stuffing, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, turnip, cranberries and luxury fruit pudding.
It was last race of 2008.
Official Result: 7th out of 50
5K in 21 minutes, 20 seconds
Turkey Trot 2007
Turkey Trot 2006
Turkey Trot 2005
Turkey Trot 2004
Monday, December 1, 2008
Souris Turkey Trot
Starting Time: 1:25 p.m.
Registration: 12:15 p.m. Souris Consolidated School
$5. for kids, $10. for adults
Course Description: Follows Parade Route
The soup will be supplied by
Rachel and Chef Michael Smith, so don't miss it.
Contact: Donna Campbell-Dixon, 357-2714 or
Sara Deveau, 687-3067 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, November 30, 2008
On Saturday Night after the Santa Claus Parade in Charlottetown,
the group of PEI Road Runners at Queen Charlotte Armories for a 5km run and party.
It was 1 degree and little windy.
It was dark we wore reflective clothes and took the flashlight.
The 5km map on figure 8 at Victoria Park, Province House and Old Charlottetown.
The lights were on houses and trees and Victoria Row there were archways of lights
and snowflake lights in Rochford Park. It was a very nice run.
We all won a prizes and my mom won the 50/50.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Autistic runner finds friends, interaction on team
By Rhiannon Potkey
Friday, November 28, 2008
Pacifica High sophomore Joshua Otani, left, jokes around with friend Tony Oseguera, whose daughter competes on the cross country team, after practice. Joining the team was Otani's first time participating in sports. Photo by Joseph A. Garcia
The crowd began to roar as Joshua Otani emerged around the final turn.
The Pacifica High sophomore might have been the last runner to cross at the Pacific View League Championships, but the result was inconsequential.
Finishing the race was all that mattered.
Otani, 15, has autism, and joining the Pacifica cross country team this season was his first time participating in sports.
Keeping Josh running was a schoolwide effort from the administrators down to the students.
"Cross country was such a confidence-builder for Josh," said Otani's mother, Susan. "When he is around regular kids he just stands taller and smiles more. It makes him happy to be able to have that interaction."
Autism is a brain development disorder that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. The cause is not known.
In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported one in 150 children has autism, and boys outnumber girls four to one.
Otani was diagnosed with autism at age 3 after his parents thought he had a hearing problem.
He is high functioning with no behavioral problems, but his verbal skills are very limited.
"He can understand when you speak to him, but his brain just won't allow the connection for speech," his mother said. "We always say it is just like a misfire. You know he understands you, he just literally can't answer sometimes."
More and more autistic children are being encouraged to take part in physical education programs because of the health benefits and social outlet the programs provide.
During an adaptive PE class at Pacifica last year, Otani's special education teacher, Brian Murphy, noticed Otani's aptitude for running.
Murphy approached Pacifica cross country coach Jason Daw and asked if Otani could join the team this season.
"I am always open to anyone with a disability running if I think I can help them," Daw said. "Even if it's a little extra responsibility, I think it's important for the kids on the team to see that anyone can participate in this sport."
Otani's parents have always experimented with change in their son's life, and cross country provided another opportunity.
"He has got to live in this world, and he has got to be able to function. It's not like we can keep him locked up in his room," his mother said. "He has to interact and deal and be a part of society. It would be a disservice if we don't try to give him all the tools he needs to be productive."
After his first practice with the team, his mother asked, "Do you want to go to back tomorrow?"
"Yeah," Josh responded.
"He is a very passive kid even without autism, so when he lets us know there is something he really wants to do, you drop everything," his mother said. "You want to get it for him because he doesn't often initiate language without a prompt."
A typical teenager
Otani is undergoing speech therapy to try to draw more language out of him, but often his actions speak as loudly as words.
While at Frank Intermediate School, Otani thought he should be in regular classes instead of special education. So one day he grabbed his backpack and walked out of the classroom. He found another classroom, took a seat and remained there the rest of the year.
He let his parents know he had become a teenager by taking all the baby items out of his room and placing them in the hall.
In many ways, Otani is just a typical teenager. He enjoys browsing the Internet, watching YouTube videos and playing Wii with his younger sister, Mikayla.
"Mikayla was the biggest catalyst in getting Joshua a lot more social and verbal," his mother said. "When they were really young, she decided he was going to be her playmate and she was unrelenting. She said, ‘Joshua you are going to play with me and talk to me.' They are buddies to this day."
The stretch run
Otani completed three cross country races this season and made great strides along the way.
During his first race at the Seaside Invitational, Otani stopped midway through and sat down on a log.
Daw, his coach, realized Otani needed to have someone running with him to keep him moving in the right direction.
"One of the kids gives up their race to run with Josh," Daw said. "The kids are cool with it, and they knew today is my day to help Josh out. It works, and the kids have a good feeling helping him."
Although she attended junior high with Otani, Andrea Oseguera never interacted with him until he joined Pacifica's cross country team.
"I think it is really cool because it is important to integrate special needs students into our program," she said.
"He has been improving with his running, and it's easier for him now. He tells me he likes it."
Hearing comments like that is the reason Murphy, Otani's teacher, encouraged him to join the team.
"It is a win-win for everybody. The students are aware of him as a person and treat him with respect and dignity, and Josh has made big progress," Murphy said. "His speech has improved, and he has really progressed socially."
Murphy ran a large portion of Otani's final race by his side for moral support.
"It was really emotional. I actually had to get away because I was crying at the end," Murphy said. "They are your kids and you are so much involved in them and to see something like that is the highlight of being a teacher."
Otani had a large contingent of fans cheering for him along the College Park course in Oxnard.
His father, Genji, asked for the day off from work at the post office to watch his son race for the first time.
He beamed as Josh crossed the finish line.
"All I want is for him to be happy, and if he enjoys being out there and running that is where I want him to be," his father said. "That is what matters to me the most."
Now that cross country season is over, Otani is considering joining the track team in the spring.
When an observer asked if he had fun running this season, Otani smiled and nodded.
That said it all.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Remember when Alex was in Spanish? (La evolución de Alex Bain)
Well, now he's also in Hebrew.... אוטיזם הוא הילד. אוטיזם הוא הגבר.
Alex has a real love for the Japanese language. The day his story is told in Japanese will be quite a thrill for him!
Perhaps it's only a matter of time.....
Monday, November 24, 2008
Recognition for autism run
P.E.I. runner Alex Bain has been named one of Canada's most inspirational runners by iRun magazine.
Bain's run for autism awareness is highlighted in the magazine's January issue.
The magazine outlines the 2006 run Bain undertook to raise awareness for autism. During July of that year, Bain covered 20 to 25 kilometres a day in a tip-to-tip run across the province.
Bain was diagnosed with autism when he was three.
These are Days
Takes me back to Alex's tip to tip run. As I accompanied him on my bike, this is the song I obsessively played on my MP3 player. To me, it was the theme song of his run.
(He used some different songs to accompany the video and stills when he made the video of that run: North Country by the Rankins, Think About the Years by Haywire, Old Man by Neil Young, Against the Wind by Bob Seger and Day by Day by Doug and the Slugs.)
I just checked YouTube and, of course, there's a music video (and a live performance from President Clinton's Inaugural Ball). Here it is (and I still obsess on it):
These are the days
These are days you'll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You'll know its true
That you are blessed and lucky
Its true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you
These are days that you'll remember
When May is rushing over you
With desire to be part of the miracles
You see in every hour
You'll know its true
That you are blessed and lucky
Its true that you are touched
By something that will grow and bloom in you
These are days
These are the days you might fill
With laughter until you break
These days you might feel
A shaft of light
Make its way across your face
And when you do
Then you'll know how it was meant to be
See the signs and know their meaning
Then you'll know how it was meant to be
Hear the signs and know theyre speaking
To you, to you...
Natalie's official website:
10,000 Maniacs official website:
Sunday, November 23, 2008
2009 iRun Awards
The 2009 iRun Awards go to:
- Paul Franklin
- Joanne Gunning
- Derek Modry
- David Daze
- Matt Hill and Stephanie Tait
- Gary Gobeil
- Ken Hill
- Dina Salvador
- Amanda and Mark Collis
- Rob Tolman
- Cheryl Bartmanovich
- Alex Bain
iRun for Autism Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion.
At the age of 20, PEI native Alex Bain’s unwavering dedication to running already sets him apart from most of his peers. Bain races almost every weekend. He has broken the 20-minute mark in the 5k and is very close to breaking 40 minutes in the 10k. He just completed his first full marathon in an impressive time of 3:29:29.
But his age isn’t the only thing that’s special about Bain; he was diagnosed as autistic at the age of three. Today, a huge part of Alex’s motivation each time he laces up his shoes is to promote awareness about autism – and the fact that he, and many others like him, wish for acceptance, not a cure. “Autism makes me different from my friends,” says Bain. “That’s OK.” As his trademark yellow race t-shirt spells out, Bain is “Running For Autism, Not Against It.”
In July 2006, Alex (accompanied by his mother, Janet Norman-Bain, who played both support crew and videographer) embarked on a run from tip-to-tip of PEI to raise money for autism awareness and risk and safety management. But even this challenge – he averaged between 20-25k per day – didn’t quite prepare him for what the last stretch of his marathon would feel like: Bain admits he hit the wall with 10k to go, “the first time I’ve done three hours of running.” Still, he exceeded his projected time goal by more than five minutes.
Bain is no stranger to awards; he has also been crowned PEI RoadRunners Rookie of the Year, Junior RoadRunner of the Year and Inspirational Runner of the Year.
I've known about this for a while now but Alex only learned about it just now when I saw it had shown up up their website and showed him. They will be sending him a copy of the magazine since we are without a Running Room or Runner's Den here (you can pick up a free copy at any Running Room or subscribe here).
Thanks too Jessica Aldred, Associate Editor, for so nicely capturing the essence of Alex in the bio she wrote.
"I like to thanks to Stanley Chaisson for training me, Chris Brake for inspiring me, my mom for drives to races and all members from PEI Road Runner Club. Special Thanks for Dianne and Elaine for big hugs." AlexPEI RoadRunners Responded HERE