March 15, 2012

ACEing Autism Tennis Program Begins at Vanderbilt

Children age 6 to 14 with an autism spectrum disorder can have fun learning tennis at the Currey Tennis Center at Vanderbilt. ACEing Autism Tennis will be held every Sunday from 3-4 p.m. beginning March 18 and running through the end of this academic year.

For information and to register, contact Chandler Semjen at or 733-5378. To ensure a student volunteer for each child, enrollment will be limited. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For online registration, go to

ACEing Autism uses tennis as a way to enhance health and fitness, hand-eye coordination and motor development, and to improve the social skills of children with autism — and for children to have fun in the process. The program consists of warm-up, forehand/backhand hits, ball handling and racket drills, hand-eye coordination activities and group games.

ACEing Autism Tennis was founded in 2008 in Boston by child neurologist Shafaili Jeste and tennis pro and entrepreneur Richard Spurling. To date, ACEing Autism has provided organized tennis for hundreds of children with ASD in three states, with Tennessee now a fourth, thanks to these Vanderbilt students.

Semjen, director and coordinator for ACEing Autism, has been a tennis pro at Blackrock Country Club and a summer camp counselor at Hingham Recreation Center in Hingham, Mass., for two summers. For three years, he has been an ACEing Autism volunteer at the Weymouth Club in Weymouth, Mass. He is a sophomore at Vanderbilt studying economics and finance.