The Siena Men’s Basketball Team has been conferred the 2020 Autism Action Award by New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
Siena Men’s Basketball team praised for supporting individuals with Autism
The award was given to the team Thursday afternoon at the Alumni Recreation Center in Loudonville, N.Y., for their ongoing support towards individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (CONTINUES AFTER THE PHOTO)
Last December the team hosted its second annual “Sensory Friendly and Autism Awareness Game,” a contest in which accommodations are made at the program’s normal home Times Union Center to offer a more sensory-friendly experience.
On that day more than 6,000 fans were in the arena to watch the Saints beat Holy Cross. The event originally scheduled to take place at the New York State Capitol back in April, was postponed and moved to the Saints’ campus due to the coronavirus restrictions. (CONTINUES AFTER THE PHOTO)
Santabarbara has a teenage son Michael who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3. “We wanted to present this award,” said Santabarbara, “because we can’t let work like this go unnoticed.”
Importance of sensory-friendly game
Santabarbara said that Siena’s first sensory-friendly game was the first live sporting event his son Michael was able to attend.
“I think inclusion is something that Siena has always stood for, and will continue to stand for,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said. “To be the recipient of this Autism Action Award, I think it’s a great day not only for Siena College, but our basketball team. For me, as a leader of this program, it’s very important that these guys realize the impact they have every single day in our community and on our campus.”