Passion to Play Volleyball Helps Overcome Challenges with Asperger’s

(April 25, 2013) Ramsey Harder is looking forward to competing at the Volleyball Canada 2013 U15 Canadian West Open Championships in Regina, Saskatchewan with his club team the NAVC Green Bears from Edmonton.  Ramsey may even end up playing against his cousin Trent Harder who plays for Club 204 from Manitoba. Volleyball is Ramsey’s all consuming passion and he works incredibly hard to achieve what may come naturally to most athletes.  Ramsey has Asperger's Syndrome which is an autism spectrum disorder and he has developed socially and functionally in significant ways because of volleyball.   Here is Ramsey’s story in his own words:

“My name is Ramsey and I have Asperger's.  I was diagnosed at the age of four. Sounds and noise can overwhelm me. I don't enjoy the different textures of food and consequently I choose what I eat carefully.  It took me a long time to learn to play with other kids my age but I became involved in sports very young. Asperger's kids are generally not that well coordinated but I work and practice really hard to accomplish my goals. 

I have played hockey, baseball, basketball, badminton but I LOVE volleyball.  I started playing when I was six in a Mini-Volley league and continue to play today for NAVC U15 Green Bears and the St Peter Apostle county champion team.  Volleyball has helped me make friends and learn to control my emotions.  I still struggle with noise, especially at tournaments but I am better at shutting it out than I used to be.  I am almost 6'4" and work hard to maintain coordination. 

The experts in autism spectrum disorders say Asperger's kids usually obsess on something.  This is certainly true.  My obsession is volleyball.  I want to play for Team Alberta, I want to play CIS and I want to show everyone what a kid with Asperger's is truly capable of accomplishing.  April is Autism awareness month.  Thanks for listening to my story.

Ramsey Harder, NAVC U 15 Green Bears

Volleyball Canada’s Open Championships take place throughout the month of May with over 9,000 athletes between the ages of 13-18 years of age taking part.  Volleyball Canada is pleased to recognize Autism Awareness month and Ramsey’s inspiring story.

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Please visit: www.volleyball.ca for further information on VC’s Open Championship dates and locations.

For further information, please contact: Kanika Thakar, kthakar@volleyball.ca, 613-748-5681 x226