Chris Murray

CHRIS MURRAY – GUY MASCOLO FOOTBALL CHARITY
Achievers Case Study

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Chris Murray, as a fifteen year old boy with Aspergers, attended the Bedhead fc/Goal Getter programme over the course of 3 years. For anyone who isn’t aware of what ‘Aspergers’ is, here is a definition, ‘Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a ‘spectrum disorder’ because the condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees’.
A few further facts regarding Aspergers:

1. Over 40% of children with autism have been bullied at school.
2. Over 50% of children with autism are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them.
3. One in five children with autism has been excluded from school, many more than once.
In August 2009, Chris decided that he wanted to play football, although his mother was wary of him participating as she thought other kids would give him a hard time due to Chris being subjected to bullying at his previous schools before moving to Wandsworth.

Chris attended the Goal Getter programme on a regular basis and made this comment, “I didn’t have many friends until someone told me about Goal Getter”. Chris’s mother, Deniece, was pleasantly surprised by the way the young people and staff at on the project took Chris under their wing. She said, “Everyone has helped Chris with whatever he struggled with, like communication skills and goalkeeping positions’.
Asperger syndrome is mostly a ‘hidden disability’ which means that you can’t tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance. People with the condition have difficulties within the following three areas:

1. Social Communication
2. Social Interaction
3. Social Imagination

This can sometimes mean that if you have Asperger syndrome, understanding conversation is like trying to understand a foreign language. Chris informed us,”‘I have difficulty picking up social cues and difficulty in knowing what to do when I get things wrong”.

When Chris first attended Goal Getter, he showed the following signs of Aspergers Syndrome;.

1. Struggled to make and maintain friendships.
2. Didn’t understand the unwritten social rules that most of us pick up without thinking. For example, standing too close to another person, or starting an inappropriate topic of conversation.
3. Found other people unpredictable and confusing
4. Become withdrawn and seem uninterested in other people.

Although there is currently no cure and no specific treatment for Asperger syndrome, at Goal Getter we made it our aim to help guide and support Chris to maximise his potential.

Chris made great progress and with our ongoing support continued to do so.

We would like to congratulate Chris, as during his time with us he showed more determination, commitment and heart than anyone could imagine and saw an improvement in;
1. Grades and studies in school
2. Behaviour
3. Confidence
4. Football skills
5. Having a better understanding of others
6. Attitude and outlook in general

Since leaving us, Chris has gone on to achieve even more. In 2014 Chris started a work experience programme at Southfields college supporting the P.E. dept in different sports (teaching & officiating year 7-11 students  with the guidance and support of teachers ).
He also passed his level 1 football qualification as well as his F.A. referee badge.

Chris’ hard work and tremendous efforts, despite the difficulties he has faced with
Aspergers, earned him a nomination for volunteer of the year 2014 for the
Wandsworth Active Awards.

This year, 2015, Chris refereed his first official game in the London County Saturday
youth league. He went on to gain a distinction in sport, passing his BTEC in Sports
level 3 as well as achieving a merit in ICT levels 2&3.

In August 2015, Chris was accepted into St Marys University (Twickenham)
where he is now a student representative for sport, attending board meetings and
helping 1st year students with physical sport problems.

He is also taking his driving test theory.

Chris called to thank us for giving him the confidence to go on and achieve in this
way. It is always very special to us when a young person recognizes and takes on
the training, mentoring and hard work that we at Guy Mascolo Football Club work
relentlessly to provide. We couldn’t be more thrilled and wish him the very best for
what promises to be a very bright and successful future. Well done Chris. We’re still
rooting for you!