LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Being on the spectrum can make many things difficult - fitting in, being accepted and having the confidence to be the best version of yourself.
Alternative Baseball is hitting a home run in its efforts to change that across the country and now they’re expanding to Las Cruces.
Taylor Duncan was diagnosed with autism at four-years-old. He always wanted to play traditional sports growing up but was often denied because people didn’t think he would be able to play due to being on the spectrum.
"I often didn't have a lot of those opportunities because of the negative perceptions and stigmas I faced growing up,” Duncan said.
In 2016, after a few positive experiences Taylor decided he wanted to give other teens and adults that same feeling he felt every time he stepped up to the plate through what is now known as Alternative Baseball.
The program provides an authentic baseball experience for those aged 15 and older with a mental or physical disability to play in a traditional baseball setting free of judgment and instead focus on physical and social skills that players can then apply to life off the diamond.
The program now has 80 teams in 34 states, the newest in Las Cruces.
The Las Cruces team has a team manager and four players so far but they are looking for more as well as volunteers and coaches.
If you want to get involved with the Las Cruces team or set up a team in El Paso you can go to alternativebaseball.org.
"We're breaking those barriers where a lot of individuals think oh, they can only go to a certain point, oh no we're breaking those barriers,” Duncan said.