Global Spectrum

Surfing in Belmar to go-karting in Johannesburg

Global Spectrum gives you a bitesize look at a handful of inspiring stories that have recently warmed our hearts… and now, hopefully yours too.

For a time when life is, for the most part, at a standstill, there has been plenty going on in the world of sport and autism.


Therefore, in the first edition of our new #spautism Global Spectrum series, we round up just some of the many stories that have caught our attention from across the world, starting with a look back on May…

Making waves

Over in Belmar on the east coast of the USA, way back in September, Surfers Healing ran its annual meet in Belmar, New Jersey, helping children with autism to feel comfortable in the water. Although sensory overloads can sometimes occur in noisy environments, research shows surfing is a therapeutic experience. In May, the Olympic Channel released a documentary on the event, following global surfing superstar Parker Coffin as he and other competitive wave-riders brought unrivalled happiness to families’ lives. If you needed something to make you smile, this is it.

Isa on the prize

Living in Johannesburg, South Africa, Isa Kajee is a motorsports fanatic, continuing to pursue an active lifestyle despite his non-verbal autism. One of his greatest passions is go-karting, Isa’s incredible determination prompting Parolin Racing South Africa to introduce a brand-new Special Needs Motorsport Academy, prioritizing participation, safety, and of course, enjoyment. And can you believe that Isa is only five years old? Nope, we didn’t either; his achievements often celebrated by his older brothers who also enjoy getting behind the wheel.

For the full story, click here.

Special Olympics postponed

Although perhaps not a feel-good story, unfortunately, not all is as rosy as we’d like it to be at the moment. The decision to postpone the 2021 Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Liverpool was taken to protect athletes with intellectual disabilities who are more vulnerable to the threat of coronavirus. The country’s largest disability multi-sport event was set to see over 2,000 athletes competing next year, and efforts to reschedule are already in place to ensure the Games go ahead when it is safe to do so.

Keep those wheels turning

Ghana has developed a whole host of global sporting stars over the years, but like all countries across the world, many of them remain unsung. Last month, the Ghanaian Times shed light on a tremendous trio with a combined age of 24 years old. Phil Bertino, Prince Effah, and Michael Djanie all have autism and love cycling, sharing ambitions to reach the highest level of the sport under the wing of professional rider Isaac Sackey. The boys’ respective parents also revealed that cycling not only provides their children with pure joy but enhances their entire development.

For the full story, click here.

© 2021 Sport and Autism (UK) CIC
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