Inclusion and fostering awareness are at the heart of a new initiative that aims to galvanise young people on the autism spectrum to achieve their potential through sport.
Founded by community organisation Goals UAE, TriGoals will be the nation’s first triathlon team made up of youths with autism – and the team is currently seeking new members.
Any young people on the spectrum that are aged 16 or over are invited to join the swim run-cycle group.
“Autism is what you call an invisible disability,” Goals UAE founder Khawla Barley told us.
“A lot of people on the outside don’t realise that these individuals need support, and that’s one thing we really want to start talking about.”
In addition to promoting inclusion through sport, Goals UAE also aims to help educate the larger community on how to do the same.
“With individuals on the autism spectrum, we need more people to learn how to interact with and support them,” Khawla said.
“We don’t want these kids to be relegated to run and swim on their own. Equally, we don’t want to pretend that they don’t need support. We want to raise awareness of invisible disability.”
Training will start from 15th April for team members, but Khawla is also keen to enlist athletes with autism of all ages for an aquathlon on 21st April to bring the message of awareness to the fore.
“The great thing about sports is that it really focuses on what you can do, not what you can’t – it’s an equaliser,” she noted.
“We’re looking to get individuals of all ages involved – we’re going to do this together. Hopefully through TriGoals, we can plant the seed for more awareness.”
To find out more or sign up, visit: facebook.com/goalsuae