In case you didn’t know, this is national awareness month for autism.
Former all-star Deron Williams has an autistic child, D.J., who is six-years-old. When D-Will went down due to injury in game four against Oklahoma City, D.J. came through with a surprise appearance in the locker room.
Before this season, D.J. showed no interest in engaging in the games, but this season has been a completely different story.
“This is the first year where he’s actually watched the games and got into the games, which has been cool to see,” Williams told the NBPA. “He does the whole starting lineup, like he can recite the whole thing. That’s been the coolest part because before he never even had a clue who anybody was, never paid attention, never cared to pay attention. You would try to engage him, but it just wasn’t happening. But this year, he loves cheering for the games, cheering for the guys, so it’s been cool.”
D.J. is also getting better in the classroom.
“He’s gotten so much better,” the former All-Star said. “Before, it was hard to get him to even acknowledge another kid in the room. He would just be off doing his own thing and they would come over to them, and he would just go in the other direction. But now, he plays with kids, he interacts with them, he plays pretend, they play tag—all the normal stuff kids do.”
Since being involved in D.J.’s life, Williams has been a consistent advocate for brining awareness to autism across the country.
Williams is in the early stages of planning his seventh annual Dodge Barrage, a charity dodgeball tournament that supports autism research and programming to assist families with autistic children. After having it in New York City for the past six years, when he played for the Nets, he’ll be hosting it for the first time in Dallas this September.
When more information on the event becomes available, we’ll make sure to keep you inform.