Gemma Ryan along her husband David their two sons, 10-year-old William and 6-year-old Edward live in the United kingdom.William and Edward both have autism, while Edward also suffers from ADHD and Tourette syndrome. Because of their difficulties it means they differ slightly from other kids in school and other social environments.
Both of the brothers have certain ticks that result from their conditions. When out in public, it’s not uncommon for them to do things like make loud noises or flap their arms uncontrollably.
Gemma took William and Edward to a play centre in August 2016. Gemma had pictured a great day for both boys but instead they had a miserable time of things, mainly because of the attitude of other parents!
Gemma feels no child should be forced to experience things her sons are often subjected to.
Because of their disabilities they have often been targets for bullying, despite having minimal control over sudden vocal outbursts and movements.
When Gemma brought her sons to the play centre in August, 2016, she was approached by another mom who said she: “should keep my ‘weird’ boys away from her son and that I needed to understand they shouldn’t be here.”
Gemma, was not about to let another woman decide what her boys could and couldn’t do.
“I confronted her and told her my son was not weird and that she needed to educate herself on these kinds of conditions,” Gemma explains.
About ten minutes later another man arrived at the play center with his son. The boy made friends with William and the two played for a time, before William put his arm around him.
Gemma explained the man suddenly freaked out, claiming he would strangle William if he did it again.
Naturally the experience took its toll on Gemma and the boys. It was an almost a year before Gemma felt comfortable returning to the centre.
“William is starting to understand more and more that he is not the same as others and that people will often him treat him differently, while Edward is still not old enough to understand,” Gemma said.
Gemma and her husband David have now began an initiative for children with autism, particularly designed to ensure they are included and accepted in society.
The event included stalls selling sensory items, a silent disco, superhero characters and talks about autism which was set up by David and his business partner, Chris Wright.
“Spectrum” turned out to be a major success, with around 1,000 people turning up to enjoy the day. William even performed his rendition of Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller”!
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