A young Hilltop Primary student and Foundation Elite and Development player Dylan Keynes has been campaigning for Tourette’s awareness in Crawley this month at his school.
Dylan and friend Daisy Roberts attend the Southgate school and set up the stall to help educate people about an often misunderstood condition.
We spoke to Dylan and his mum Sophie about the importance of awareness of the condition:
‘Daisy and I are selling bands, tie dye socks and personalised cups to raise money for Tourette’s Action; a charity that has helped lots of families.
It is important for the world to understand Tourette’s because if a person with tics is told to stop ticcing, or we’re made fun of, it could hurt their feelings and make their tics worse. Tics can be painful and tiring so sometimes it can be hard to work and concentrate.’
Dylan joined the Elite and Development team at the Foundation this year and his mum Sophie spoke about how football has helped him:
‘The support shown by the Crawley Town Community Foundation - especially Ian (Cobbett, Foundation Coach) has been amazing; Ian shows complete understanding, acceptance and respect for Dylan - on and off the pitch - which is highly appreciated by both Dylan and I’.
It isn’t just the Foundation football teams that need to be accepting, Sophie explains what we can do to better accommodate those with Tourette’s:
‘The best advice I have is if you encounter someone with tics is to show patience, compassion and if possible make adjustments at school or a workplace so a person feels supported and accepted.’
Dylan, too says it is important to be understanding:
‘If you meet someone who has Tourette’s, or tics, my advice is to never tell them to stop or be quiet because it can make someone frustrated and their tics worse. Having Tourette’s doesn’t mean you’re not clever. It helps me when people give me time to speak and think without rushing me. Don’t make fun of peoples tics it can upset them.’
The Foundation’s Player Pathway Co-ordinator Ian Cobbett was pleased with Dylan for opening up on the subject and says he has become more assured:
“It has been great watching Dylan’s confidence grow every week and being open about his tics and how sport helps. Dylan is proud when talking about his school and how they have allowed him and Daisy to raise awareness about Tourettes. It was fantastic meeting Daisy and watching them both interact with the pupils, parents and teachers when talking about Tourettes. We can’t wait to see what they do in the future and become great ambassadors for Crawley Town, Hilltop and Tourettes Action.”
The pair have raised an impressive £500.85 - at the time of writing - for Tourettes Action. If you would like to learn more, or donate, you can visit their website at www.tourettes-action.org.uk