Jason Quevedo finds his stride with Turning Pointe and Special Olympics

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Special Olympics changes the lives of those with disabilities by showcasing their full potential in sports and everyday life.

Growing up with autism, Jason Quevedo struggled to find a school where he could fit in and make social connections.

His family searched for a second home and found it–and more–at Naperville’s Turning Pointe Autism Foundation. He enrolled in the fall of 2022 and got involved with Special Olympics this spring.

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation allows Jason to be himself

“It’s kind of like we’re seeing the rainbow at this point, having him at Turning Pointe has changed not only his life but our whole family,” said Jason’s mother, Shauna Quevedo. “Seeing him being able to participate, where two years ago, he probably wouldn’t be able to, it’s a life changer.”

At the storm’s end, a golden sky filled the air for the Quevedo family. After years of not finding the right fit at school, Turning Pointe provided him with constant support and a space to shine in all aspects of everyday life.

“Once I think he felt that he was seen, his true colors came out,” said Shauna Quevedo. “He is just thriving here, like, again, we never thought that we would be able to get him to go to Special Olympics or any of these things, or even participate in the sport with other kids, and now he’s doing it.”

Jason excels as an athlete in Special Olympics Soccer and Track & Field

In March, Jason joined his first-ever sports team, competing with D303 Special Olympics Soccer and Track & Field. He not only participates in sports, but he also dazzles in the competitions. After a dominating performance at Regionals for Special Olympics track and field, Jason secured a spot at the Summer Games at Illinois State University, where he won the gold medal in the 200-meter run!  

He also won bronze in the 4×100 meter relay and fifth place in the mini javelin.

“I showed up to the race, the gun shot off, I won the race and the guy showed up with the gold medal,” said Jason Quevedo.

Over 15,000 people were at the Special Olympics Summer Games from June 7 to June 9. One of Jason’s favorite memories from the games was the opening ceremony, where he was ushered onto the Illinois State football field with a tunnel of high fives.

Before each event, Jason talks through a game plan with his coaches. In terms of encouragement, he does a good job hyping himself up with three simple words… “I want this!”

Special Olympics Illinois helps thousands of kids forge new friendships

At nine years old, Jason often competes individually in track and field, but even then he’s part of a relay team. On the D303 Soccer squad, Jason has forged a special bond with his two attacking teammates.

For his Mom, Shauna, watching Jason build new friendships is very emotional. 

“If they would score, all three of them would just kind of get together and start hugging and high fiving and like just seeing that from Jason, like have never seen that him do that with other kids other than his family before.”

For Jason, his newfound sports have brought more than medals it’s given him a chance to create friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. 

“He’s starting to get it,” said Shauna Quevedo. “He’s starting to click that, you can work together as a team, you can build these friendships.”

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