NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the world’s top tennis players try to qualify for the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, some younger players are on the court to win a different kind of fight.

Ebony Jowers’ 8-year-old son Kerrell usually has a hard time socializing. But today on the court, he is one of several children at an event by ACEing Autism, a non-profit group dedicated to teaching autistic kids how to play tennis.

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“I’m so excited because I just see him enjoying himself and I’m just super excited for him,” Jowers told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang.

The hope is that tennis will become part of these kids’ daily routine. Coaches say they’ve seen time after time how it can make a difference.

Founder Richard Spurling is a tennis pro. His wife is a pediatric neurologist who studies autism. The pair brought their passions together six years ago.

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“What I’ve learned from interacting with parents is they are so obsessed with health and finding therapists, they forget about taking them out for fun,” said Spurling.

In tennis, an “ace” is a serve that wins a point. Even if they never make one, these kids are stepping closer to “aceing” autism.

ACEing Autism has two locations in New York City and three more in upstate New York.

For more information on the program, visit

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