Dagenham schoolboy named winner of sports charity’s outstanding achievement award
- Credit: Archant
An eight-year-old has won an award for showing immense bravery in the face of his learning disabilities.
Joseph Gill, from Dagenham, has been named winner of the outstanding achievement award for the London region by Panathlon, the sports charity.
The foundation gives more than 22,000 disabled youngsters opportunities to participate in competitive sport which they can otherwise be denied.
Joseph’s PE teacher, Stewart Stevens, said: “Joe’s independence has grown over the last couple of years and this has definitely been helped through his participation in Panathlon.
“He loves to come back after events and share information about the day and show off his medals.” The sport-loving Southwood Primary School pupil suffered a brain injury after contracting meningitis following birth, affecting his long and short term memory.
Stewart said: “Joe has made outstanding progress in the last few years. He has struggled with his independent skills.
“He would need support from his peers and adults to complete basic tasks – getting dressed after PE, remembering his coat and following instructions.”
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He would also find it tricky to make conversation, relying on “safe” topics he could recall, including his baby teeth falling out and helping grandad Brian Crosbie with his car. But Stewart explained that taking part in sport with Panathlon has boosted the youngster’s confidence.
“Joe now shares information that he has remembered with family members and they can now join in with his excitement.
“He has learnt independent skills such as changing into his kit, remembering his own equipment and following instructions for each activity,” Stewart explained. And Joseph has learned to play individual and team games, learning when and why people take turns in activities as well as about the equipment used in various sports. During Joseph’s life he has had to undergo several operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital.