For your average twelve-year-old boy loving video games is pretty typical. But for Carson it is different. Gaming isn’t just a hobby, it is a passion that has shaped who he is today and what he is capable of. Playing arcade & video games has helped Carson to overcome some of the biggest challenges in his life. Through learning more about Carson’s story we will all hopefully see the gift that he shares with the world and have a new perspective on how passion can help you push through even the biggest obstacles in your path.
The video clip above of Carson’s story was covered by Cincinnati’s Local 12 news at 11 (WKRC) on December 17th, 2015 at Scene75 Cincinnati.
At age two and a half Carson was diagnosed with Apraxia, a neurologic condition that, among other things, can severely impair fine and skilled movements. With this diagnosis doctors told Carson’s parents that their son would have difficulty writing and performing other fine motor coordination activities and might never integrate into a traditional classroom setting. But Carson and his parents refused to accept those statements as facts.
Carson’s early years were not on pace with other children as he struggled with his neurologic deficits and particularly with speech development. But Carson and his parents did not use this as an excuse to accept what the doctors had said. Carson’s parents enrolled him into a special program for apraxic children at St. Rita’s School for the Deaf, where he learned signing as an additional means of communicating. Carson worked with specialized teachers at St. Rita’s and with therapists at Children’s Hospital to develop his language skills and improve his fine motor coordination. Thanks to the hard work of Carson and his teachers and therapists, Carson’s speech rapidly improved and at age five Carson made the giant leap from his specialized teachers to public school. Carson was proving that he would not be held back by his neurologic deficits as he integrated into a normal school setting. But, Carson was still unable to write with a pencil and complete some skilled motor tasks. As a result the school approved for Carson to type assignments on a keyboard instead of writing them by hand. Carson was not satisfied to settle for typing, he was determined to be able to write.
Outside of school Carson continued with therapy sessions to improve his fine skills. These therapy sessions focused on practicing motor control. One of the main aspects of the therapy was playing video games, which Carson quickly fell in love with. The video games served as a fun tool that provided a therapeutic release while encouraging Carson to push himself further. His family purchased most of the major systems plus some big arcade games like PacMan and Congo Bongo. By playing with the joysticks from these classic arcade games he was also steadily improving his ability to grip a pencil. Over time the practice & playing paid off, Carson wasn’t limited to typing anymore, he could write using a pencil.
Fast-forward to today and you’ll see that Carson’s love for gaming & arcading has only grown stronger. Carson maintains an active blog about arcade games and his adventures with gaming. A popular topic on his blog is his favorite place: Scene75 Entertainment Center Cincinnati. Scene75 is a giant 90,000sq foot entertainment center for all ages with 12 indoor attractions, including 110+ arcade games, go-karts, laser tag, mini-golf, mini-bowling, full restaurant/bar and much more. Carson is a regular at the Scene75 Cincinnati location, usually visiting at least once a week, and frequently more. His favorite games there are the coin pusher arcade games such as SpongeBob, Black Beard’s Bounty, & Wizard of Oz. He gets an added thrill from these games by collecting all of the cards that those games dispense, and when he has a full set of cards he turns them into the prize gallery for 5,000 tickets.
To this date Carson has earned a total of around 500,000 tickets at Scene75 Cincinnati. Carson likes to save his tickets and exchange them for major prizes. What he does next with a lot of these prizes truly shines a light on the type of caring person that Carson is. After winning a prize at Scene75 he will often decide to give it away or donate it. A recent example of his generosity is that Carson and his parents just dropped off 64 stuffed animals to Toys for Tots from prizes he had won. All of the donations are coming from Carson’s heart and are what he is self-motivated to do.
His giving doesn’t stop there. Carson’s school hosted a canned food drive last year and he eagerly participated. Carson really internalized the need to help those who struggle with hunger and wanted to do everything that he could to help. Carson pleaded with his mother to go shopping for the food drive and even spent part of his birthday money purchasing food for the underprivileged. The next day he brought in his donation to the school, all 1,000 canned food items of it. It is obvious that Carson has a remarkable heart and is a very giving kid.
With the loving help of his parents Carson has worked hard to overcome many of his challenges. He is a twelve-year-old boy who has defied what many thought was possible. It is an inspiring story of how passion for doing something you enjoy can push you through even the most difficult obstacles. In doing so, it has shaped a kind and generous boy that we can all look to as a positive role model. Carson is a reminder that there should always be a place in your heart to give back to those who may be less fortunate and that when passion pushes – you can go anywhere.