An innovative sports group has served up success for a Kilsyth teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome who suffered badly from bullying as he grew up.
Dion McLean is celebrating after winning a string of awards at Kirkintilloch-based Tennis Aces.
The group, under the guidance of head coach Allwyn Crawford, actively promotes sporting activities for those who have a learning disability and any other additional support need.
As well as being named club champion, Dion is the recipient of other group awards including the Saltire Award and the Sasha MacNab Memorial Award for achievement.
Dion said: “Throughout my years growing up my mum put me into many different sport clubs such as Taekwondo and football, but bullying from mainstream kids ruined my devotion and desire.
“Even at school I got bullied verbally and physically because I was different from the other children.
“My enjoyment of sports was slowly fading until my mum Yvonne heard about the Tennis Aces. She wanted me to try it to meet new friends and to keep fit.
“As the weeks went on I realised I could be good at this sport and started to believe in myself with the help from the players, volunteers and head coach Allwyn Crawford.
“I have achieved many certificates such as the Saltire Award, basic first aid and introduction to tennis leaders course. I was also the club champion and got special reward, the Sasha MacNab Memorial Achievement Award.
“I am also a volunteer, helping Allwyn at the Saturday sessions and preparing myself for level one in coaching.
“I never thought I would have done so much in this year to boost my confidence and start to believe in myself. The help from Tennis Aces has made me more determined at my subjects in school as well as pushing to get my level one.
“A big thank you goes out to Allwyn for believing in me and all the other players for accepting me into their group. I would definitely recommend Tennis Aces to anyone with additional support needs.”