Young Boy With Autism and Tourette Syndrome to Compete in Powerlifting Championship

Spotted by coach Daryl Haskew, Christopher Biggs practices the bench press. Photo Credit: Mark Inabinett; AL.com

Spotted by coach Daryl Haskew, Christopher Biggs practices the bench press. Photo Credit: Mark Inabinett; AL.com

Loxley, Alabama – Christopher Biggs, 12 has autism and Tourette Syndrome. He is a sixth-grader at Fairhope Intermediate School and plans to compete in the youth division at the Alabama State Powerlifting Championships held March 15-16 at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

Christopher’s mother, Lynne Biggs told AL.com that he is going to teach people abut autism and that autistic people can do anything that they want to do.

Lynne said:

“I think it’s going to give him a place,”, “something that people can look at him and he’s not the kid with autism, he’s not the kid who tics. He’s the kid who’s really strong and is in the powerlifting competition.”

Lynne said that she has seen the positive effects of powerlifting for her son.

She read an article in the paper last summer and said:

“and it was about the Special Olympics (powerlifting) team and it talked about how it wasn’t the person who lifted the most, it was the control, you had to follow the right methods just to compete. Christopher with his autism, he doesn’t stop and think. He just jumps, and the idea of something that would teach him control sounded really good. And he’s naturally very strong, so we wanted him to be able to be in control of that.”

The coach of the ARC of Baldwin County powerlifting team Daryl Haskew, recommended TOADS, a personal-training facility working with Brock Cole. The ARC team was on vacation at the time but when it restarted the workout schedule conflicted with Christopher’s school day.

Christopher now goes to school from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m and this allows him to attend the ARC workouts on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Lynne said that Christopher’s autism leaves him prone to sensory overload while his Tourette syndrome can cause repetitive movements and vocalisations.

“Christopher’s tics are vocal and motor. The vocal ones have been the worst because he’ll screech, he’ll hoot, make animal noises. It’s disturbing to people around him, and when he gets caught up in the cycle of doing it, it’s frightening to him. He never tics while he’s here working out. His tics overall are much better, and I think it’s because he relieves stress when he’s here, when he’s working out, and it carries over to the rest of the week.”

Daryl suggested that weight training has a positive effect for the autistic from what he has read and learned.

“and I’m trying to get more information from the experts – and to me the experts are the parents – so I’ve gotten some input from parents who’ve said the focus required and also the pressure – the actual feeling of resistance – for people who have autism is doing something within their body or mind to help them. I don’t know what it does, but I’ve noticed over the years that autistic people really, really enjoy doing the sport.”

Christopher told of how powerlifting makes him feel good and that it calms him down. He is very excited about participating in the Alabama State Powerlifting Championships.

“I think it’s very great, excellent,”

Christopher hopes to set a personal best in each of the three lifts.

The ARC of Baldwin County powerlifting team will have 15 members competing.

The full article on the AL.com website can be read here