Aversed to huge crowds and loud sounds made Prabhroop Singh Sekhon, 15 yrs, an unlikely contender at the World Summer Games 2015. Sounds of revelry disinclined him to skate into the arena for practises causing much anguish to his mother, standing at the wings, waiting to cheer.
Dreading the final day of competitions she discussed his condition with the announcers. An appeal was made to the audience not just in the Roller Skating rink but across the other two events being conducted in the same hall as well, to respect his auditory condition by maintaining silence. An amazing cooperation from a large audience and the organizers opened gates for Prabhroop to put his best foot forward and SO Bharat got richer by two gold medals. “This is Special Olympics. Long life to Special Olympics” said his mother.
Prabhroop, however, was unable to comprehend his success. What the Games meant for him was friends and his Coach Gareth Jay Vaz . 4 Months on, he signals to his parents how much he misses the games and his Coach. Going through pictures from the Games makes him very World Games along with the Camps preceding the games “changed something in him”, says his mother.
It was only when Prabhroop was 2 years of age did his parents observe delays in his milestones with nothing atypical appearing earlier. Confirmation by a doctor that their son has Autism transformed their lives completely. Their focus was now on how to make their son, and only child, most comfortable and happy. Mrs. Sekhon joined a course that brought her face to face with Autism and equipped her to assist her son loving and constant support helped Prabhroop pull through phases of violent and irritable behaviour. As suggested by a few, he was introduced to Roller Skating. Taking well to the sport he joined SO Bharat when his father, a defence officer was posted in Lucknow.
His first experience in an SO Bharat Camp was in January 2014 at Bareilly. To see Prabhroop spent time with other Athletes, have tea with them, share food with them, convinced his parents that ‘something had changed in his life’. The subsequent camps he attended made him more and more independent bringing down his aversion to touch , crowd and noise.
Sports has brought about a remarkable change in him. He goes regularly to Air Force Golden Jubilee School, Delhi and cycles for an hour daily. He completed the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2015 .
“His anxiety level has gone down. Earlier he would just carry out instructions but now he expresses himself”, Mrs. Sekhon.