November 14, 2016

Sports Illustrated Comes to Higashi!

**Read the Sports Illustrated article online here**

Higashi at the Intersection of Autism and Sports

As some of you may already know, Boston Higashi School was recently featured on the tv program 60 Minutes Sports (which airs on Showtime), and also in the November 14th issue of Sports Illustrated. What an exciting opportunity this was! You may be wondering, how did this all come about?

Back in April 2016, Heather Katz, Director of Training, received a voice mail from Stephanie Apstein, a researcher for Sports Illustrated. She was researching information on autism and sports, and had interviewed a doctor at Mass General Hospital who mentioned our school. Stephanie looked our school up online and called. After interviewing Heather on the phone for about an hour, Heather was told that she would hear back later once the story was getting ready for print to verify the facts. Months went by with no word. In August, Stephanie called Heather with “good news” and “bad news.” The “good news” was that the story was going well. The “bad news” was that the story was being pushed back because CBS had picked up interest in it, and wanted to have permission to come and film on location at our school for their piece! (It was the best “bad news” we have possibly ever heard!)

Rome Hartman, Producer, and Jack Weingart, Associate Producer at 60 Minutes Sports, flew out to BHS the last week of September and filmed for 2 days. They filmed PE classes, morning jogging, and a few academic classes. On their final day of filming, Jon Wertheim, Executive Editor of Sports Illustrated, flew into town to visit and record an interview of Heather. He is also responsible for initiating this entire project, as it was his brainchild to write the original story on the intersection of autism and sports. Jack and Stephanie enjoyed the feel of Higashi so much, they came back for Sports Day to videotape, photograph and interview some of our parents.

Overall, this was such a great experience for our staff, our students, and our school. The students were “pros” even with the cameras and microphones in their faces - they kept the smiles on their faces, and remained focused on their tasks. As we are the only school mentioned in the tv piece, the on-line article, and in Sports Illustrated, it goes without saying that Boston Higashi School is, without a doubt, the premier school for educating children with autism. Our focus on sports is just one example of how we educate the whole child, instead of just “fixing” deficits. In a world where autism numbers continue to climb, we are glad that our emphasis on fitness is beginning to reach a wider audience in a way that parents and families can embrace. 

**Read the Sports Illustrated article online here**