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Boy With Asperger’s Told To Avoid Sports Day So He Wouldn’t ‘Cause A Scene’

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Boy With Asperger’s Told To Avoid Sports Day So He Wouldn’t ‘Cause A Scene’

A seven-year-old boy reportedly 'cried his eyes out' when his dad had to tell him that he wouldn't be able to go to his school's sports day. Mark Birchall was advised by a classroom support worker to keep his son, Jacob, away from the event to avoid him 'causing a scene'.

The special needs staff member believed that, because of the youngster's Asperger's Syndrome, if he didn't win he would throw a tantrum.

The 28-year-old dad has told the Liverpool Echo: "I feel they were embarrassed by him, rather than just thinking about his needs.

Mark with his son Jacob
Mark with his son Jacob
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Credit: Liverpool Echo/Mark Birchall

"It was disgusting to single him out. It is excluding him, which is exactly what you are supposed not to do with children with special needs. It should be about inclusion - even if he didn't take part, he could have handed out medals or been a referee."

The principal of the Banks Road Primary School in Garston has responded, branding it an 'inappropriate suggestion' which doesn't reflect the values that the school upholds.

Headteacher Linda Gibson has told the newspaper: "We have a clear policy that all of our children take part in sports day and I have taken steps to make sure this can't happen again."

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But Mark wasn't going to let his son go without, so he took the day off work and organised his own sports day. The dad even picked up a gold medal to award the youngster.

Mark got his son a medal
Mark got his son a medal

Credit: Liverpool Echo/Mark Birchall

In a post to Facebook, Mark told his friends that Jacob won't be returning to the school come September. The status has had nearly 500 reactions, with many expressing their outrage at the staff member.

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One person says: "The school should not be allowed to take on children with special needs if they are not willing to be ALL inclusive. No child should be left out regardless of what condition he has."

While another adds: "Discrimination needs reporting to the authorities. I have three sons, two with Asperger's and one with autism. They are grown up now but I would never let anyone get away with something like this. What a disgrace of a school to treat your son in this way."

Their home city of Liverpool is currently trying to become one of the UK's first autism-friendly cities. Special gates have been installed at Everton's stadium Goodison Park, with ear defenders readily available, while people with autism can request a guide to help them board a plane at Liverpool Airport.

The scheme has led to more than 600 staff across the city to be trained to see if a person with autism is in distress, with strategies to help them.

Featured Image Credit: Liverpool Echo/Mark Birchall

Topics: Liverpool, Autism

Stewart Perrie
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