Andy Fesili saw the difference in his son Jacob, 5, as he ran to the Estancia High School bleachers Saturday morning.
It wasn't the way his son moved, what he said or even what he did, Fesili said. It was when Jacob, a child in Newport Mesa Unified School District's program for kids with autism, chose to run around with his older brother, Matthew, 7, that was a difference.
"You see it all come together today," Fesili said.
Jacob was one of dozens of kids between 3 and 5 participating in the High Five Sports League's annual Olympics event at the high school in Costa Mesa. There, kids on the autism spectrum participated in seven different events from a relay race, softball throw to a 25-yard dash as their parents and teachers, and other kids without autism cheered them on.
In Jacob's first year at the event two years ago, he kept to himself and didn't participate. Instead, he just used his boundless energy to run around the track and up the bleachers, his father said. This year, Jacob seemed to understand what the day was all about and actually joined in the games and got a medal.