Silent Volleyball Crowd Allows Player’s Brother With Autism and Noise Sensitivity to Watch

Parents of children with autism are experts at adapting. To meet the unique needs of their children, parents attempt to navigate the real world without upsetting the order needed by their children. Especially in the case of auditory sensitivities or noise sensitivity, crowds can be especially challenging for children with autism.

Normal and excessive noises alike can disturb a child with autism. Simple and common sounds such as chewing or talking can trigger meltdowns. Louder, unique noises can exacerbate the situation. Going to sporting events or concerts is often not possible for the entire family to enjoy together.

Payton, who has autism, wanted to see his sister play volleyball — despite his auditory sensitivities

Mosinee High School volleyball player, Melina Carattini, knew of the challenges her brother faced while wanting to see her play. Payton, Carattini’s brother, has autism and suffers from noise sensitivity. Crowds and noises are just too much for him.

This feel-good story is at the top of the list. For one night, the entire crowd at the volleyball game made it possible for Payton to see Melina play. With Mosinee High School going against Marathon High School, the stage was set to allow a brother to watch his sister play volleyball.

With special instructions, the crowd remained silent through the first part of the game. The only sounds were the players talking quietly, the ball bouncing and an occasional whistle from a referee. This was the case until the 10th point of the game.

”Special, very special. You know you tell him, when you get back home, you tell him how the game went. She played good, things like that. Many times, if it’s far away, we’re able to watch some of the games. But to have him there is very exciting and emotional,” their dad, Jesse, said.

To be cautious, Payton left the game after the eighth point. And, the entire crowd erupted with noise. Melina’s teammates embraced her to celebrate the special moment.

And, to top it all off, Mosinee High School beat the opposing Marathon High School, 3-1.

Watch the full story of a silent volleyball game, broadcast by WMTV out of Madison, Wisconsin.

Janna Firestone
Janna Firestone
Janna lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two teenage boys. You’ll often find her hiking, paddleboarding, or enjoying a good board game indoors. She's an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan, and an even bigger fan of coffee, dry shampoo, and authentic conversations.

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