Athlete Feature – Braden Derouin
“YEAH BABY!” says Braden Derouin as he flies through the tunnel on the slopes of Eldora. Braden is never short on words, phrases or riddles as he spends his day entertaining everyone in the Ignite Trailers, otherwise known as World Headquarters. Braden is 11 years old and is on the autism spectrum. Currently there is no cure for autism, though with early intervention and treatment, the diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and, in some cases, overcome. Braden has been hooked up with Ignite through the City of Boulder EXPAND Program. After two years in this program, it is a delight to see Braden flourishing and independently skiing down the hill, and even going over some jumps.
Braden enjoys the benefits of many other sports programs. “Ooh I could tell you all about the things I do! Gymnastics, Frisbee golf, ice hockey, soccer, but my favorite is a tie between gymnastics, rock climbing and skiing,” says Braden. With an excitement and zest for conversation, Braden shares what he loves most about skiing. “Going fast, going through tunnels. Tom (Kissinger) is my favorite instructor!”
Braden also enjoys the company of animals, but not your typical pets. “I have over 21 tarantulas, one bearded dragon, and a centipede,” he shares, “but this is no normal centipede. He lives in a big terrarium. He’s a carnivore; not for touching, not for holding, not for getting anywhere near.”
Seeing Braden receive the incredible opportunities and support that many on the autism spectrum need, and seeing him flourish and blossom into such an incredible child is a privilege and a joy to behold. He is a wonderful example of what can happen when the right opportunities are placed in front of someone at the right time.