As April turns into May, it is time for the latest edition of the Global Spectrum series.
Last month was Autism Acceptance Month – an initiative that leads to more businesses engaging with autism, from a simple online search to gain a better understanding of neurodiversity, to organising large fundraising events.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant that people were limited to what they could do to support the initiative this year. But, like every month, there was still plenty of fantastic stories from the world of autism and sport.
Room with a view
New York Red Bulls became the first Major League Soccer club to install a sensory room at its stadium, Red Bull Arena. It is a friendly facility that provides the tools for children with autism to de-stress and feel comfortable, while still having the ability to watch the game. The room was once the office of the club’s general manager Marc de Grandpré, who – with a daughter on the autism spectrum – wanted to support a cause close to his heart.
To mark Autism Awareness Month, Echo Live Cork published an article on inclusivity in sport for people with autism and intellectual disabilities, and highlighted the resources and opportunities available in Ireland. Nationwide organisations in tennis and football have been leading lights in this, and courses are being run for coaches who feel they have a lack of understanding on how to build and maintain an inclusive environment at their clubs.
Making a splash
Above The Wake strives to be a platform where people with autism can enjoy spending time in water, and in April the family business joined forces with Orlando Watersports Complex to run an autism friendly event for more than 40 children. The event was tailored around what each individual wanted to overcome or achieve, providing them with several facilities and water sports to engage with.
Anything is possible
As a trailblazer in sport, Canadian racing car driver Austin Riley has an ever-growing profile, and was interviewed last month with major news outlet Global News Toronto. You can watch the interview below, where he discusses how he started on his motorsport journey, some of the challenges he faced, and ultimately how his success proves that anybody can achieve their dreams.
The next step
Amal Salem Almalood has featured Global Spectrum before (in January) for dedicating her national kayak medals to her 21-year-old son Khalid, but she made headlines once again in April after upping her efforts to raise awareness of autism in Bahrain by walking and running every weekend. She is also working on an initiative to make autism-friendly music, as well as taking part in a seminar with a local government leader.