My name is Dion and I am 18 years old. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of Autism when I was younger. Throughout my years growing up my mum put me into many different sports clubs such as Tae-Kwon-do and football but bullying from mainstream kids ruined my devotion and desire to continue playing these sports. Even in school I got bullied (verbally and physically) because I was different from the other children in school. At that moment the only thing that got the bullying out of my mind was video games. My enjoyment of sport was slowly fading away until my mum told me about the tennis aces. My mum wanted me to try the tennis aces for me to meet new friends and to keep fit. As the weeks went on I realised I could be good at this sport and started to believe in myself with the help from the players, the volunteers and of course the head coach Allwyn.
Right now I have achieved many certificates such as the saltire award, basic first aid, introduction to the tennis leaders course. I was also the club champion and got a special reward called the Sasha Macnab memorial achievement award. At this moment I am a volunteer who commits my weekends to helping younger players within the tennis aces who have additional support needs. I am also training and preparing myself to become a level 1 coaching assistant.
I never thought I would have done so much in this year to boost my confidence and starting to believe in myself. The help from the tennis aces has given me the opportunity to play competitive tennis and not to be scared to take on new challenges. A big thank you goes out to Allwyn for believing in me and all of the other players at the tennis aces for accepting me into their group. I would definitely recommend the tennis aces to anyone with additional support needs.
The Tennis Aces was set up in 2015 to provide training and playing opportunities for adults and young people with learning difficulties. From a small pool of 7 players, today they now have over 60 members within the project, which includes volunteers and committee members. In 2019 they changed their name to The Sporting Aces.
Their aim is to reach out to everyone, regardless of age, ability, with additional support needs, living in East Dunbartonshire to participate in a sport, access local community facilities, and develop a healthier lifestyle by taking part in a fun, social activity.
For more information go to www.thesportingaces.co.uk