There are around 700,000 people in the UK on the autistic spectrum, with a staggering 70% of families with autism feeling socially isolated[1]. Sport engagement provides invaluable therapy for children and young people with autism, as well as providing a social outlet for them. Access Sport’s Ignite Programme offers access to quality local sporting opportunities to young autistic people across Bristol and London.

Super Swimmers Academy in partnership with Access Sport, is providing a life-saving skill that builds confidence in and out of the water. It provides a safe place to learn, to be included in a club, to make friends and for parents to meet and support each other.

Many young people with autism need 1:1 support. By hiring out the pool privately means that we have removed some of the major barriers to participation. Each member is given a bag and a hat to feel part of the club and their own sticker chart to visually document their progress as they work towards a nationally recognised accreditation. More importantly they learn to overcome fear of the water, feel safe and comfortable through learning skills and progress to a point where they could cope with mainstream lessons.

“Ben found free play before difficult – didn’t think he would last. However he made amazing progress in 20 minutes 1:1 tuition. I also got a chance to swim whilst he was swimming!” - Parent, Super Swimmers Academy

Wingz BMX is a thriving initiative with Access Sport’s award-winning BMX Legacy Programme, giving young disabled people the opportunity to experience the thrill and freedom of BMX cycling. With approximately 120,000[2] young people in England on the autistic spectrum, our passionate BMX coaches and array of adapted equipment provide sessions suitable for young people with autism. Peter – just one of those 120,000, mastered the life-skill of cycling at Peckham BMX Club. Peter and his family now use their bikes together and have been able to enjoy family bike rides, something that Peter’s family did not think would be possible on a two-wheeled bike.

“In teaching him to cycle you have given him a great gift which will have positive implications for the rest of his life in terms of his health, fitness, confidence and ability to really stick at a challenge. It also opens up opportunities for us to enjoy doing something together as a family” – Peter’s Mother

[1] The National Autistic Society (2016). Too Much Information Campaign.

[2] The National Autistic Society (2015). School Report.