‘Peo­ple with autism are su­per­heroes’

Fundraiser across 500 miles to raise aware­ness of autism

The Scarborough News - - WELCOME TO YOUR NEWS - by Poppy Kennedy poppy.kennedy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @Re­porterPoppy

A Scar­bor­ough fam­ily will em­bark on a five-day mo­tor­bike mis­sion to spread the word that peo­ple with autism ‘re­ally are su­per­heroes’.

Chris Craw­ford has told the emo­tional story of his son’s bat­tle with who he is and the in­spir­ing mo­ment he re­alised he had a ‘gift’.

Con­ner Eng­land, 13, was di­ag­nosed with Asperger’s Syn­drome in 2017 after years of strug­gling with so­cial anx­i­ety and be­havioural prob­lems at school.

Dad Chris Craw­ford said: “Over the years of tests there were no de­fin­i­tive an­swers and all the while Con­ner’s ed­u­ca­tion was suf­fer­ing and slowly he be­came what the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem called “un­teach­able” due to his ex­treme be­hav­iour.

“We also got a glimpse of his tal­ents when early in his sec­ondary school­ing he was per­ma­nently ex­cluded for hacking the school servers!”

Although a recog­nised di­ag­no­sis was what his par­ents had fought for for six years, for Con­ner, then aged 12, it was ‘dev­as­tat­ing’.

Chris said: “He felt he was now branded as a child with a ‘dis­abil­ity’. For him it was a la­bel that was to in­crease his anx­i­ety and de­velop into de­pres­sion.”

But a life-chang­ing mo­ment has in­spired a fundraiser, in aid of the Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety, which will take place next month.

The 33-year-old said: “We took him on Su­per­good Ride for Autism. The first time I tried to get him there he hit that brick wall and he just couldn’t do it.”

But the next time the event was held, de­ter­mined Con­ner gave it an­other go.

“He sort of started talk­ing to peo­ple, then there was one spe­cific mo­ment, where we’d driven down Stax­ton Hill, Con­ner was on the back of my mo­tor­bike and we’d stopped at the traf­flic lights,” said Chris.

“I looked in my mir­rors and all I could see was head­lights rid­ing two by two all the way up the hill. I told him to turn around and look be­hind him and even through his hel­met I heard him gasp.

“At that point he stopped call­ing it a dis­abil­ity. I told him these peo­ple are all here to sup­port your gift.

“The change in him which we’ve seen in five or six weeks is so dras­tic it’s what I ex­pected in six years. If that could change Con­ner, what could it do for some­one else.”

Next month, from Au­gust 3 to 8, the fam­ily will travel 500 miles in five days all dressed as su­per­heroes meet­ing dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions and stop­ping off in dif­fer­ent towns along the way.

They will be leav­ing from the Crown Tav­ern at 8.45am on Fri­day Au­gust 3 but will be there from 8.15am if peo­ple want to wave them off.

Chris said: “In my opin­ion peo­ple with autism re­ally are su­per­heroes.”

To donate visit www.just­giv­ing.com/fundrais­ing/con­ner-chris­r4a

Sienna Craw­ford, Toni Oliver, Kerry Craw­ford, Chris Craw­ford, Ky­lan Craw­ford and Con­ner Eng­land. In­set Chris and Con­ner

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.