Autism Speaks Coaches Powering Forward was created in 2014 after NCAA Coaches Pat Skerry and Tom Herrion embarked on a mission to raise awareness of autism. Inspired by their sons, both diagnosed with autism, they made a simple request to fellow coaches: Wear the Autism Speaks blue puzzle piece pin during the televised February weekend games. In an overwhelming response, more than 82 NCAA coaches and broadcasters took to the sidelines and airwaves throughout the weekend wearing the puzzle pin.
By 2017, the support soared to 332 NCAA coaches wearing the pins and more than 387 schools showing their support of people with autism. Click here to see a list of participating schools. Today autism affects 1 in 68 children in the U.S. and more than 70 million people worldwide.
The 2018 goal is to continue to grow this initiative to include all Division I programs, along with other divisions and provide basketball coaches, their teams and schools with an even greater opportunity to increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism.
If you would like your school basketball team to receive puzzle piece pins, please register here. Thank you for your support.
To learn more about autism and Autism Speaks go to AutismSpeaks.org.