In order to help his daughter, who is also autistic, football player James McClean has revealed that he has been diagnosed with autism.
On Tuesday, the 33-year-old Republic of Ireland international posted a message on his Instagram page stating that his daughter Willow-Ivy has autism.
He disclosed the information during World Autism Acceptance Week. “The last four years have been life changing in the most amazing way, but also very difficult at times as her daddy watching her overcome so many obstacles in her life and learning how to manage the challenges she faces on a daily basis,” he said.
Wigan Athletic winger McClean continued by saying that as he and his wife discovered more about their daughter’s autism, he began to see some of her characteristics in himself. As a result, he made the decision to acquire a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
“I feel like it’s time to share it, for the week that’s in it,” he added. “It’s been a bit of a journey and now that I have a diagnosis.”
“I have debated for a while going public in sharing this as I’ve done this for Willow-Ivy, to let her know that I understand and that being autistic won’t and shouldn’t ever hold her back from reaching her goals and dreams,” he wrote.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately one in 100 children worldwide have autism.
The group continues, “Additional characteristics include aberrant patterns of behaviors and activities, such as difficulties switching from one activity to another, a focus on specifics, and unexpected reactions to stimuli.”
A writer with two autistic children, Jon Barbuti, wrote on LinkedIn that James “is a reminder that autistic kids may achieve in any subject.”
“There are still stereotypes that say autistic children will gravitate toward math, coding, or some other solitary activity. Many will, and good for them; nonetheless, all areas are available, including sports.
For some autistic children, the path to pursuing their own passion may be a little clearer as of tonight, thanks to James, Barbuti continued.