LIFE

Ex-Dodgers Pitcher Raises Awareness For Adults With Autism

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.

In the 1990s, Jim Gott began his baseball career as a pitcher with the Dodgers. During that time, he met his wife, Cathy. The couple would have two sons together, C.J. and Danny. However, expanding their family was not easy. Both of their sons have autism, and Mom and Dad admit they did not take the news well at first. Cathy was devastated.

“I would always just think, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a magic pill or somebody would be there to help, and it’s not what it looks like it’s going to be,’” Jim said.

The father was heartbroken when he would try to bring young C.J. to a game and the boy would bite himself or throw himself on the ground because he was overstimulated by the lights and loud noise. Fortunately, the parents didn’t hold onto their sorrow for long. They realized their sons may have a few unique challenges due to autism, but that didn’t mean they didn’t deserve the same chance at life or that they weren’t as capable as the other kids.

With their sons now in their twenties, the couple realized that adults with autism face a whole new set of challenges like, where will they work? So Jim and Cathy built a farm called Danny’s Farm. Danny, now 22, helps to run the petting zoo where young adults with special needs learn to work with the animals. Cathy began a unique program called “Transitions” that gives young adults the tools needed to get jobs and live independently. Danny is living proof that those with autism are perfectly capable of doing so, as he now works several jobs and lives completely on his own.

“Just because we have autism doesn’t mean we’re any different than anyone else. We laugh, we cry, we have feelings,” Danny said.

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