Armani Williams was born in Michigan and diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2, and like many children with autism, was nonverbal during his early years. Armani presented with extreme struggles just participating in daily life with his peers. Autism is a brain disorder that affects 1 in 68 children in the United States, 1 in 42 males, and means lifelong challenges in learning, socialization, and behavior, as well as many associated medical problems. Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and is the fastest growing developmental disability. Given these epidemic numbers in the United States, almost every individual knows or cares about someone who is affected by autism.
Armani began racing at age 9 and a light switch was turned on. At the end of the first session, Armani stated “Dad, I understand.” From that moment, Armani’s family recognized that he had a special ability to drive and that they would do anything to make it happen. Armani has continued to demonstrate incomprehensible talent on the track competing first in go-karts, then bandalero type vehicles, followed by late models, the ARCA Truck Pro Series, and the NASCAR Driver for Diversity Combine. To date, Armani has 18 wins and 2 Championships. With several years of success and perseverance Armani is now at the professional level and continues to develop his skills on and off the track in NASCAR Canada, driving the #28 Race4Autism Dodge for CBRT MotorSports. Armani’s dream of winning the biggest races in NASCAR in the US is well within his grasp.
Today Armani is 17 years old. He carries a 3.0 GPA which he continues to work hard every day to maintain within a mainstream curriculum. His ability to race at a high level of competition has given him more strength and self-esteem than he would have been able to achieve by any other means. It has also given him the confidence and perseverance of a champion, not only for the track, but for life. Armani is ready to take on both the racing world and the world at large as an inspiration to the autism community, to other young people with autism, and to those all around the country who will be inspired by the first-ever driver with autism.
The very nature of the disorder allows for the extreme focus that racing requires, and parents and caregivers of individuals with autism are always searching for new ways to uncover the untapped or hidden potential of those that they care about.
Armani lives with the motivation of, “Tell me I can’t, so that I can show you that I can”. Go Autism Nation!
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You can follow Armani on his journey @team_armani_racing and @brandbsports