At age 17, Armani Williams is NASCAR's first driver with autism, as reported by BlackDoctor.org. At the age of 2, he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and was non-verbal during his early years. He struggled to engage in daily life and around the age of 8 years old he started taking car racing lessons. At the end of his first lesson, he said to his father, "Dad, I understand.” At that point the family knew instantly he had a gift for driving and made a vow to support him.
According to Autism Speaks, autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys. The National Autism Association states that autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that affects typical brain development in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function. Individuals with autism typically have difficulties with social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication.
Armani began his racing career by racing go-karts and most recently competed in the NASCAR Driver for Diversity Combine. He has a total of 18 wins and 2 championships. This has given Armani the determination to win at the track, but also at school and life. He works very hard off the track and maintains a 3.0 GPA in general curriculum classes. Armani proclaims, “Tell me I can’t, so that I can show you that I can.” To keep up to date with Armani Williams, visit www.teamarmaniracing.com.