Wrexham FC Disabled Supporters Association is always on the lookout for new members to join its ranks; it currently has in excess of 100 members, and is constantly looking at ways and means of trying to improve the match day experience for disabled supporters. So when an enquiry from Autism Wishes came through seeking help in facilitating a match day visit for a group of youngsters with Autism, we were delighted to get involved and Wrexham Supporters Trust were more than happy to make sure it happened.
There are approximately 200 youngsters in the Wrexham area with Autism and with the good news spreading like wildfire; we are anticipating a group of at least 50 to attend the Racecourse on the 19th October to watch the Reds play against Woking. The group will have a section of the Mold Road Stand’s ‘Family Section’ set aside for them and will have the opportunity to visit the ground a couple of days beforehand to familiarise themselves with their surroundings and purchase their tickets.
Simon Johnson, a Wrexham season ticket holder and dad to Mollie, aged 10, who has autism, explained why the scheme was proving so popular:
“Like most families, we are always looking for fun activities to do together but having a child with autism means it isn’t always easy to do things that most people take for granted, like attending football matches. Mollie, for example, would not always be able to tolerate new surroundings, particularly somewhere as loud and busy as a football ground. We are also extremely conscious of disturbing other people if we were at events and so tend to avoid them. By giving us our own section of the ground where we will be seated with other families in the same boat we will feel much more comfortable and the pre-match visit will help many of the children who have issues adapting to new environments.
“I’ve seen and attended similar initiatives at cinemas across the country but I believe that this is the first time a football club has done this. I would like to offer my thanks to the DSA, Autism Wishes and everyone at Wrexham Football Club for making this possible. It will mean a great deal to lots of families who have never had this chance before.”
Anyone wishing to attend the match in the ‘autism friendly’ section should contact Jo Perera from Autism Wishes on (07769) 210919. More details are available on the Autism Wishes Facebook page.
Notes to Editors:
Autism Wishes is an Organisation run by parents and siblings of people with Autism. Along with raising awareness of the condition, they seek to educate and raise funds for local Autism charities through various fundraising activities. This culminates in an annual Ball each April to coincide with World Autism Awareness month.
In addition, it seeks to grant wishes to children/young people with Autism who otherwise may be unable to achieve their dreams.
Contact: Jo Perera (07769) 210919
Wrexham Disabled Supporters Association
Wrexham FC DSA is for ALL members of the football club's disabled community, whether disabled, family, carer, professional or simply interested in making our club a better place for disabled people.
Contact: Terry Stott (07932) 994778
What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It is part of the autism spectrum and is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder, or an ASD. The word 'spectrum' is used because, while all people with autism share three main areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in very different ways. Some are able to live relatively 'everyday' lives; others will require a lifetime of specialist support.
The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are sometimes known as the 'triad of impairments'. They are:
- · difficulty with social communication
- · difficulty with social interaction
- · difficulty with social imagination.
It can be hard to create awareness of autism as people with the condition do not 'look' disabled: parents of children with autism often say that other people simply think their child is naughty; while adults find that they are misunderstood.
Autism affects 1 in every 100 children which is roughly 30,000 in Wales alone.