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International Program That Helps Kids On The Autism Spectrum Makes A Stop In Colorado

PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – On Sunday mornings, you'll find Craig Marshall running up and down a tennis court, leading a lively group at the Parker Racquet Club. A handful of kids take over Court 1 with racquets in hand, practicing drills ahead of their match.

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"It gives everybody an experience with tennis," said Marshall.

He coaches the team through nonprofit ACEing Autism. The former athletics director and tennis instructor began coordinating the program back in 2014.

"Since I've worked with special needs kids all through my teaching career starting in the '80s, I thought this would be a great opportunity."

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Taylor Mathewson is taking full advantage of the opportunity; she's been working with Marshall to refine her skills for five years now.

"I'm 21, and he got to watch me grow up and he teaches me lots of different stuff about tennis."

Mathewson says she looks forward to ACEing Autism yearly. The program visits different cities around the country, including Colorado, for six-week periods.

"We can do volleys and sets and other drills where you do hand-eye coordination -- where you have a balloon and you hit the ball," said Mathewson. "It makes me really happy."

The friendships formed are for a lifetime, and so are the lessons.

"You have to support your partner. You have to forgive. You have to forget. You have to learn to go on, and this can all be accomplished on the tennis court," said Marshall.

If you'd like to get your child involved in ACEing Autism, visit

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