17-Year-Old Armani Williams Is NASCAR’s First Driver With Autism
Armani Williams was born in Michigan and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 2. Like many children with autism, he was nonverbal during his early years. Autism is a brain disorder that affects 1 in 68 children in the United States, 1 in 42 males, and means lifelong challenges in learning, socialization, and behavior, as well as many associated medical problems.
Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and is the fastest growing developmental disability. Given these epidemic numbers in the United States, almost every individual knows or cares about someone who is affected by autism.
Armani presented with extreme struggles just participating in daily life with his peers, but when he began racing at age 8 a light switch was turned on. At the end of the first session, Armani stated, “Dad, I understand.” From that moment, Armani’s family recognized that he had a special ability to drive and that they would do anything to make it happen.
He has continued to demonstrate incomprehensible talent on the track, competing first in go-karts, then bandalero type vehicles, followed by late models, the ARCA Truck Pro Series, and the NASCAR Driver for Diversity Combine. To date, Armani has 18 wins and 2 championships.
With several years of success and perseverance Armani is now…