Marking World Autism Awareness Week 2019

Marking World Autism Awareness Week 2019

Club hosts activity to celebrate internationally recognised event.

Liam Cooper showed his support for World Autism Awareness Week as he dropped in on a coaching session with one of the Leeds United Foundation pan disability teams on Thursday afternoon.

The internationally recognised event takes place every year to raise awareness of what autism is and help people understand what it can feel like to have autism.

The Leeds United defender joined a football session being led by the Academy’s first year scholars as part of their learning towards a level 2 coaching certificate – they were putting the players through a number of different drills and activities during the two-hour session being held at the club’s training ground, Thorp Arch.

The club captain was on hand to meet with some of the players who are on the autism spectrum and learn more about how working with the club’s official charity helps them, especially when playing football.

The players explained that the pace of disability football is better suited to autistic people and that information overload would be a struggle playing in a mainstream team. The disability coaches give information at a slower pace helping players to understand and giving them the best chance to improve.

Yosuke Ideguchi

Autism or Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. People living with autism see, hear and feel the world differently to other people.

It is a spectrum condition and although they can share certain difficulties, being autistic will affect them all in different ways.

Antony Hall, Disability Officer at the Leeds United Foundation, spoke to LUTV during the session and said: “The players here today are part of one of our pan disability teams, and what I mean by that is there are multiple disabilities all playing together, and you get to learn that those who have autism are very different to each other, it’s very interesting and very rewarding at the same time.”

27-year-old Cooper added: “I’ve not personally come across people with autism when I’ve played football but it’s great that our Academy have come together with the foundation for World Autism Awareness Week, putting these coaching sessions on.

“It’s good for everyone involved, ever since I’ve been at the club it’s getting bigger and bigger every year the work we are doing with the local community and fans – they really do integrate with the disabled part of the community.”

World Autism Awareness Week is all about encouraging people to take part in different activities to raise money and awareness for the National Autistic Society. For more information, click here.