A story to encourage all those fabulous people on the AUTISM spectrum!

Home / News / A story to encourage all those fabulous people on the AUTISM spectrum!

A story to encourage all those fabulous people on the AUTISM spectrum!

A story to encourage all those fabulous people on the AUTISM spectrum!

My son Adam is 11, a gymnast and on the spectrum.
You see him here, with a medal around his neck. You see glory and achievement. Behind this medal is a very different story and that is why we are so incredibly proud of him and why this medal means so much more.
He doesn’t like his picture taken but he agreed when I told him I want to show people on the spectrum, their mummy’s, daddy’s and carers, how us people (I’m one of them) can achieve anything!

May 2017-November 2017
He has had a very tough year. Exactly a year ago he was at home, home schooled. This was not something we ‘wanted’ to do. We had to take him out of school for his own mental health. The school didn’t understand his emotional needs and we were called daily to take him home. Every morning, 30 minutes after dropping him off, I found him in the school reception area, in a corner, like a trapped rabbit. White skin, glazed eyes and rigid body, the school just had no clue and had no intention to understand.
We appealed to get him into the same school as his siblings where there was no space. (Hence he was first in another school) I visualised, thought positively and ‘knew’ it was going to work. This process was dragged out and very emotional as Adam had taken this very personal. The head mistress of the school we appealed for, made it very clear they were full and didn’t want him there either even though she said she understood why we appealed.
My son hasn’t got a statement because educationally, he has no issues… what a f***ed up system where there is clearly no value given to emotional and mental health because don’t forget, his education went backwords because his emotional health deteriorated but still… no statement. Anyway, we won and he went back to school in November 2017. He had a great time at that school and his year 6 teacher was amazing.

September 2017- May 2018
Whilst all this was going on, gymnastics training continued. He trains 16 hours a week. He absolutely loves it but was struggling heavily with how he was coached. Adam loves routine, stimulation, pushing forward and competition. But the element which was slowly but surely pushing him over the edge, all in that same year, was the bullying which so very often pops up in sports on high level. The threatening ‘If you don’t this than I’ll put you in a lower level’ ‘If you don’t that than you will never make it’… ‘Wimp’ ‘Don’t be such a baby’ … He took it on, cried, didn’t understand how people could talk that way but it was breaking him inside.

Sensitivity is not a weakness but a strength… I feel for those not knowing, they are broken inside themselves.

It became a struggle to get him in the gym and a deep sad frustration for us.
The message we perceived was: ‘if you are anything but ‘normal’, you’re out’ ‘If you are too sensitive’, you’re out. This is discrimination of people with a disability of any kind. I was so frustrated, angry and upset! Not just because of what was happening but also because for the last four years, the coach had never been this ‘bad’, we didn’t understand as he had been such a big part of Adam’s life. We tried to teach Adam to take these encounters as life lessons. Forgiveness to set yourself free and rocket fuel to push you forward. 
We were supported by fabulous people in the gym who were keeping an eye open and so on but there didn’t seem to be a solution… One day, Adam came out of the gym and said ‘Mummy, I’ve had enough’. I could see in his whole energy that he was broken. He had continued for so long. He had battled not understanding people for so long, at school and in the gym. Now, he had enough. I was so upset that purely because of him being different, having sensory overload, high physical sensitivity, not understanding sarcasm and so on that he would stop something he loved doing and was very good at. He did than confirm to me that he had enough of the coach’s behaviour and not gymnastics…

May 2018 – NOW
In the last months he hadn’t trained properly as he was often blocking or simply told to go home. But finely… he was given another coach. This coach is fantastic with him and Adam feels it. He trusts him, within days, they built up their ‘rules’ so Adam knows what to do if he’s overwhelmed and so on. He is understood! One month before his national competition, another change occurred… his coach’s wife had a baby so he had to deal with three weeks of more change with other coaches.
One week before this competition, his coach was back but another major change took place, Adam started high school!
We noticed on the day that he wasn’t his usual self. He was quiet and snuggling up to his bear. During the competition, he cuddled his bear several times. My husband brought his bear to him several times. It was his way of finding comfort in his overwhelming world. But despite all that, he won a bronze medal, overall (5 apparatus) on national level. And that’s why this medal means so much.

This medal is a victory against the bullies, a victory against all who need to open their eyes. A victory for all people who think they can not do something because they are ‘different’ because you can, you so can!

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search