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A World Autism Awareness Day celebration of reconnecting through football and friendship



Google News Recentlyheard

Google News Recentlyheard

On this World Autism Consciousness Day, I’d prefer to share an uplifting story about my son, Kevin, and his good friend, Cameron.

Kevin and Cameron met roughly 10 years in the past once they had been collectively in a Grade 8 class for college students with autism. Cameron was among the many high-functioning college students, and Kevin, effectively, he was not.

Kevin has the power to talk in phrases and perceive most of what’s stated to him. However he isn’t adept at dialog and doesn’t have the power to navigate the world by himself.  

Once they had been in class collectively, Cameron would take note of the issues he knew can be arduous for Kevin, like fireplace alarm drills. On these days he would be certain that to sit down close to Kevin to assist preserve him calm when the noise started.

Cameron went on from Grade 8 to graduate from highschool and attend neighborhood school. He has a job at a automotive dealership.

Kevin stayed in highschool till he was 21 after which moved on to an grownup day program, which he attends to at the present time.

Cameron and Kevin had not seen one another in nearly a decade when at some point I acquired a direct message on my X (previously Twitter) app.

Cameron watches plenty of TSN and would see me on the air speaking soccer. He puzzled how Kevin was doing, so at some point he determined to succeed in out and ask.


Kevin Naylor (left) and his good friend Cameron (proper)
Cameron is actually Kevin’s good friend, and he’s a darn good one.

I hadn’t seen Cameron since their Grade 8 commencement, so he needed to remind me who he was and the way he knew my son.

I’d get periodic messages from Cameron from that time on, usually commenting on one thing I used to be doing on TSN and at all times asking about Kevin.

A short while later, we grew to become Fb pals. That gave me a glimpse into Cameron’s life. He appeared to be a really optimistic younger man with an amazing love of sports activities, particularly soccer.

That’s once I had an thought. I invited Cameron over to see Kevin.

Cameron arrived late one afternoon, and the 2 younger males sat on the kitchen desk collectively. I talked to Cameron and requested him about his life and what he’d been doing over the previous decade.

Because the three of us went for a stroll that day, he crammed my ears with questions on Kevin that my son couldn’t reply for himself.

Right here was somebody who understood Kevin and understood autism.

I invited Cameron to start out spending time with Kevin, particularly throughout occasions once I’m tied up with work and might’t pay him as a lot consideration as I would love. 

Cameron beloved the concept. And in that second, a friendship was reborn.

Cameron and Kevin spend time collectively each week. They go for walks, they play video video games, they do jigsaw puzzles, they watch motion pictures collectively they usually go for ice cream. 

A short time after this started, I requested Kevin at some point, “Who’s Cameron?”

He gave me one-word reply again, a phrase he has by no means utilized to anybody else in his life.

“Good friend,” he stated.  

Cameron is actually Kevin’s good friend, and he’s a darn good one.

Kevin and Cameron’s reunion consists of the coincidence that Cameron has a near-obsession with the topic that consumes a lot of my time – soccer.

It is not uncommon for many individuals with autism to develop very centered pursuits or expertise.

For Kevin, it’s 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles, which he knocks-off by the dozen over the course of a month.

For Cameron it’s watching any form of soccer – school soccer, NFL soccer and his beloved Toronto Argonauts, for whom he’s a season-ticket holder and critical fan, attending each house recreation and viewing occasions for street video games.

So sure, I knew we had been going to get alongside.

Cameron loves to speak to me about all sports activities, however particularly soccer, and the issues I’ve seen and locations I’m going for my job. I like to share my tales with him, textual content him photographs from my travels, and sometimes carry him souvenirs. 

Cameron has grow to be one of the necessary individuals in Kevin’s world and has modified his life. 

That’s my celebration on this World Autism Consciousness Day.

Autism is a journey, one the place it’s necessary to have fun little miracles alongside the best way.

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