Remember sports day in school? That was the time school attendance increased, and class attendance decreased. It’s something every child looked forward to, either because playing all day long is a dream come true, or because they want to support their classmate, or simply because it was a reason for classes to be suspended for the day.
But, for a 7-year-old autistic boy named Jacob living in Liverpool, it was an experience that made him burst into tears.
As sports day came closer in his school, one of the staff members approached his father, Mark, on the playground and advised that it would be better if Jacob did not get involved in the sports day activities, as it could possibly create a scene, as if Jacob loses in an event and gets upset, his emotional reaction may create a scene.
While the principal was unaware of this incident and feels that this was inappropriate for any staff member to ask this from a student, Jacob, on the other hand, was devastated.
When we talk about ourselves, we want the best possible opportunities to thrive according to the skill sets that we hold and the amount of efforts we are willing to put into our work. But then why do we tend to discriminate – even if it is on an unconscious level – against providing people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome with the same opportunities? Is it because we feel that they do not have the talents, or because we do not have the patience to train them or handle their emotions?
Let’s work together to improve the opportunities available for autistic people. Every small effort makes a difference.
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