‘People with autism are superheroes’
Fundraiser across 500 miles to raise awareness of autism
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