Thursday, August 16, 2018

"Golf inspires us to try things we never thought we could do."

My readers know that I coached Varsity Boys' Golf for 33 years, and I have written many times about the lessons of the game.  Indeed, the game of golf is so much like life!  I also taught many students with special needs during my 37 years in the classroom, and I always looked for a way to allow them to increase their abilities, not to dwell on their disabilities. I found a terrific story to share with you, my readers, that you will enjoy!

This week, I was fortunate to see an inspiring story about a young boy with autism who has been changed by the game of golf. This story touched me personally, as I also had a player on my team whose whole life was changed by his love and involvement in the game of golf, which encourages the golfer to try hard and be the best he can be.  

The First Tee teaches young people important lessons about life through the game of golf, including Integrity, Perseverance, and Respect.  No one knows more about these lessons than Maverick Steiner.  Maverick was born with a rare genetic disease, and he spent the first few years of life in a hospital.  A bone marrow transplant to save his life led to more isolation, as no one was allowed in his hospital room. Once he was home, his parents noticed that he was quiet and withdrawn, and always preferred to be alone, and they received the diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder.) They were devastated, thinking of all of the very worst possibilities that could befall a child with autism.  Trying to draw him out of his lonely bedroom, Maverick's dad worked with his son to find a sport he might be interested in.  Although the parents do not play golf, Maverick chose golf.  They enrolled him in The First Tee, a program which is inclusive of all children, working hard to make accommodations to help every child who wants to play golf.  

Maverick was shy and quiet at first, but within a few golf lessons, he lost his shyness and became extroverted, interacting with the other kids, raising his hand to answer questions, and immersing himself in learning the game. He learned to come out of his shyness, try over and over to learn to hit the ball, and to do it all with manners.  His social skills also blossomed while in The First Tee (social skills can be a real problem for kids with ASD) and his outgoing nature and new confidence even spilled into his school classroom, as he made honor roll for the first time.  I am so impressed with this boy, his family, and The First Tee.  This real life success story shows that no label can or should limit children, and that with encouragement and love,  success and change can happen. I am also thinking about the lessons the other children learned from being with Maverick - lessons like tolerance, acceptance, humility, patience, and even empathy. 

If you would like to see this delightful young boy in action at The First Tee, take a look at this link.  I promise you will smile.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

Connect with Dede!

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