On the evening of Tuesday 5th December, Lucy and I travelled to Leicester to attend the Autism in sport workshop to help with our roles in disability sport when in Zambia and before. After getting lost in the taxi for a short while, it proved a very productive evening!
We learnt what Autism is, how it affects different children and adults and how sport can help them in their lives. However, sport also provides many barriers to those that are autistic. For example, Autism also has many co-occurring conditions such as dyspraxia or learning difficulties. Therefore to some autistic people, kicking a ball which may seem a simple skill to neurotypical people (people with a typical neuropathway) is most certainly not easy to them and therefore to teach the skill you would have to break it down. Others may find social situations extremely difficult which may mean they prefer individual sports but also you may find autistic people who love team sports but these people might struggle with certain sounds or smells.
One of things we learnt from the workshop is that not every autistic person is the same. Just because you have met one Autistic person doesn’t mean you know all of them. Just like if you have met one man in the world, doesn’t mean you know all the men in the world. If anything, Autistic people are unique and have a different way of thinking and interacting with the world, and who is to say that their way is not a better one?