Special Needs Now

PGA Winner Jordan Spieth's Biggest Supporter: A Sister Who Has Autism

Golfer Jordan Spieth and sister Ellie
Autism Acceptance has a new champion: superstar golfer, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who just won the Masters at Augusta this week. Amid all the talk of the famous green jacket, comparisons to Tiger Woods, and other golf highlights, Spieth was eager to talk about his 14-year-old sister, Ellie, who has autism.

In a recent interview with CNN he said, "I love having her around. She's an incredible sister, my biggest supporter. She is somebody who you can watch and then reflect on the big picture of life and understand that all these frustrations in a day, or in a round of golf, are really secondary."

The golfer's mom has also spoken candidly about how Ellie's autism helped Spieth maintain perspective despite all his fame and success. "Jordan wouldn't be where he's at today if he didn't grow up with Ellie," said his mom.

And Spieth himself is clear on what an impact Ellie has had on his life. "It's humbling to see her and her friends and the struggles they go through each day that we take for granted -- their kind of lack of patience or understanding, where it seems easy for us and it's not for them," he said.

Related: The Amazing Faces of Autism

Spieth's not just talking about Ellie's influence, however. His charity, the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation, will focus part of its efforts on raising money for youth with special needs, as part of a commitment to help Ellie and many other kids like her.

Recently, I wrote about National Siblings Day, and many readers let me know how inspired they were to learn more about the bonds between siblings in special-needs families. I'll echo their sentiments, and say that Jordan and Ellie have touched my heart and inspired me, too. I look forward to following their story and learning more about Jordan and his success, both on and off the golf course!

Watch a sweet video below of Spieth talking about his sister, Ellie.

Jamie Pacton lives near Lake Michigan where she drinks loads of coffee, dreams of sailing, and enjoys each day with her husband and two sons, Liam and Eliot. Find her at www.jamiepacton.com, Facebook (Jamie Pacton), and Twitter @jamiepacton

Photo of Jordan Spieth and his sister, Ellia, via Jordan's Instagram account.