North America’s only racecar driver with autism shares his story

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CTV Regina


Published Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:48PM CST


Last Updated Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:52PM CST

Liam Nameth, a student at Argyle School, has a big dream for his future.

The nine-year-old boy lives with autism, but that’s not going to slow him down from becoming a racecar driver.

“Liam’s a wonderful little boy and he’s so kind and he’s so friendly,” Liam’s father Dave Nameth said. “He’s got so many wonderful traits and stuff that we don’t view his autism as anything that keeps him back.”

On Friday, Liam took in a special presentation at school by Austin Riley.

Just 19-years-old, Riley is the first licensed racecar driver with autism in North America.

“I’ve always had a passion for cars and racing, and just wanted to get into it and loved it ever since,” Riley said.

The Ontario native started racing when he was eight, and managed to make quite an impact on Liam.

“I learned that you can do anything if you have autism or not,” Liam said.

Namath’s parents discovered that Riley was on tour, and raised money to help bring Racing Against Autism to the Queen City, the tour’s only stop in Saskatchewan.

Riley’s cousin, Shane Riley, is the President of North America’s Autism Reality Experience, and is bringing the simulation to Canada.

Those who take part in the simulation wear gloves to limit motion and interrupt feelings in the hands, as well as glasses that change the perception of space. Lights and audio are also used to create an overwhelming sensation.

Shane hopes the Autism Reality experience will break the stigma and misunderstandings around autism.

“One of Austin’s favourite sayings, Shane explained. “Just because you have autism doesn’t mean you can’t do great things. And he’s living proof of that.”

As for Austin, racing his car “Lizzie” is his tool to remaining comfortable. It’s his form of therapy.

Based on a report by CTV Regina’s Kathryn Fraser.



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