I’m a Tulsa Kid: Asher Ward
Jenks High School graduate Asher Ward embraces life. Diagnosed with autism at an early age, Asher has never let his disability keep him from attaining his goals in school, work or in Special Olympics. Voted by his senior class as “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day,” Asher was recently accepted to compete in the Special Olympics National Games in New Jersey next summer. Special Olympics Coach Jennifer Roberts describes Asher as having an “extraordinary work ethic and never lets what others may call a disability stand in his way.”
TK: At what age did you realize that you have autism and how did you discover ways to excel in school and activities despite any setbacks you faced?
Asher: I was 15 years old when I discovered I was autistic. My teachers and family have always helped me to come up with a learning style that worked for me at school, work and all the other activities I am involved in.
TK: Do you have a special situation or memory of high school that stands out?
Asher: My special memories of high school were being chosen the Regional Special Olympics Athlete of the Year 2012. My senior year I was voted Senior Superlative “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day,“ and I was elected Jenks Prom King.
TK: Tell us about your participation in Special Olympics?
Asher: I started competing in Special Olympics in the 9th grade. During my time as a Jenks Trojan, I competed in seven different events. In the last four years at the Summer Games in Stillwater I have won four Gold medals and one Silver for Bocce. Just last week I found out that I have been accepted to compete at the Special Olympics National Games in New Jersey next summer.
TK: Do you have any advice for a child who has autism and wants to live a mainstream life in school, work and activities?
Asher: I think it is important to make friends. They can really help you succeed, and they really have your back.
TK: Is there a person in your life who has helped and inspired you to achieve?
Asher: Mrs. Jennifer Roberts, my Special Olympics coach, has been a big influence in my life. She always encouraged me to do my best at school and in my Special Olympic events. She always told me “You can do it, Asher!”