Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wyatt Iles

Autism Light #351 is Wyatt Iles.

Photo of Wyatt Iles

Wyatt Iles is 12 years old and from Claremont, California. He was born on August 24, 2001 and diagnosed with autism at age 2. He started playing golf at age 4 and has excelled as a junior golfer. Wyatt Iles is an Autism Light for his dedication and achievements as a student and golfer that set an example for others with autism and raise autism awareness.

Student: Wyatt Iles told Autism Light that he gets straight A's and maintains a 4.0 Grade Point Average. He especially likes mathematics and has been in advanced math classes. Although he will only be in eighth grade in the 2014-2015 school year, he will get the honor of going to Claremont High School to take Pre-Calculus for his math class ahead of his peers.

Special Olympics:  Wyatt got his debut as a golfer with the Special Olympics of Southern California. They have helped Wyatt be successful and as his skills grew he has competed in tournaments outside of the Special Olympics.

Quote: Wyatt told Autism Light that he feels this about autism:

"Autism is a label. Autistic or not, nobody can become talented at anything, without hard work and dedication. Be who you are, and strive to become who you want to be (Wyatt Iles)."

The following is a video about Wyatt's journey with autism and inspirational accomplishments. It includes an interview with Wyatt's father, Luther Iles.

Golf Achievements: Wyatt Iles was one of 18 kids in USA to be picked to be on the Tiger Woods Foundation National Junior Golf Team in 2013. Members of this team are selected based on golf ability, academic excellence, and under representation in the P.G.A. In 2013 he competed in the Callaway Junior Golf World Championship Tournament in San Diego, California. He also won a qualifying golf tournament, and will compete in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship Tournament to be held July 19-24, 2014 at the PGA Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Wyatt Iles maintains a 7.9 golf handicap index (GHIN: 9729114).

Here is a news story by ABC7 News on Wyatt Iles' inspirational accomplishments.

Wyatt's Coach: Jay Lim, who is Wyatt's golf coach said, "If they find any interest at all, hey, nurture it, because look at what can happen. This is a great story, not just for golf, but for autism as a whole (ABC7).

Twitter: You can follow Wyatt Iles on Twitter @wyatt_iles.

Advice to Parents: Wyatt Iles had this valuable advice for parents that he told Autism Light.
I would encourage any parent of a child newly diagnosed with autism, to understand as much as they can about this disability. It does mean their child will likely face many challenges; however, with work, any challenge can be overcome. Many, including myself, diagnosed with autism have difficulty effectively communicating. It would be wise not to misinterpret this as a sign of low intelligence. I would encourage parents to actively seek out early autism intervention therapies, but equally discover and encourage your children to pursue the things they like. Most with autism have a limited field of interest, but many people do not realize the absolute passion autistic individuals have for things they find interesting. On that note, I would also suggest trying to avoid video games if possible, because I know from personal experience, they can easily become an addiction that can distract from your real goals in life. I have found my interests to be both golf and mathematics. It is likely they will both play defining roles in developing my future (Wyatt Iles, Email to Autism Light on 7/5/2014).
Future Plans: Wyatt Iles has a dream to be able to become a scratch golfer, and play golf professionally like the late Moe Norman (1929-2004), who is thought to be the only person with autism to date to play golf professionally.

Special thanks to Wyatt Iles for being an example to other students with autism. His dedication and success in golf is lighting the way for others with autism to consider golf as a sport. We wish Wyatt all the best in his endeavors. Something tells us the autism community and the world will be hearing more from him in the future.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

The photos in this post were used with permission of Wyatt Iles.

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