We're into July, an amazing summer of sport is only just getting started, and it’s time for the latest Spautism Global Spectrum.
We have summarised some of our favourite sporting stories from the worldwide autistic community from the past month.
Tulla Athletics Club and several local coaches worked with inclusion disability officer James Murrihy to run a successful pilot project in Tulla, a market town in County Clare, Ireland. The project saw 13 children on the autism spectrum from the surrounding communities participate in an athletics programme involving one hour of training every week for six weeks, and Tulla AC aims to develop its own athletics facility to provide an even greater experience in the future.
It’s a family thing
Shawn Bockey told Men’s Health magazine about the journey his two autistic sons have taken in sport. He and his wife introduced them to triathlons, and after a long familiarisation process, the power of sport has brought the family happier and closer together while helping the two boys, Jake and Christian, develop confidence and independence.
Juanita Webster-Freeman has Asperger’s Syndrome and trialled for the USA’s Olympic athletics team last weekend. The track and field prodigy comes from Santa Barbara Track Club and qualified for the heptathlon trials in Eugene, Oregon, following the footsteps of 2016 Olympian Barbara Nwaba who is one of her mentors. Juanita feels most at home on the track and wants her story to empower other people on the autism spectrum to achieve in sport.
Sheppard’s soccer programme
Kaine Sheppard may be from Northamptonshire in England, but he is making a difference on the other side of the world in Australia. The professional footballer founded the KS Foundation in 2019 to make football accessible and enjoyable for autistic people, inspired by his brother Jake who has autism. The KS Foundation recently teamed up with Hoppers Crossing Soccer Club in Victoria to start the ASD Academy, aiming to introduce children to football and improve their participation opportunities.
A big catch
Brad Sinopoli was a star American football player for Ottawa REDBLACKS and announced his retirement from the sport this summer. But with more time on his hands, he plans to make it count by undergoing a 24-hour fish-a-thon for Ausome Ottawa, which helps provide sport and recreation access to people and families with autism.