Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
This is the moment a 14-year-old autistic boy discovers his love for running after being stuck indoors during the COVID-19 lockdown where he “broke everything in the apartment”.
Julien usually resides at a specialist centre for autistic people in the city of Grenoble in the south-eastern French region of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, however the centre closed on 15th March amid the pandemic and the teen had to live with his mum Magali.
The boy’s mother, who lives in Saint-Martin-d’Heres in the south-eastern department of Isere, told local media that Julien could not find his bearings and appeared unsettled.
She added that he suffered numerous meltdowns and ended up breaking everything in the flat.
Magali said: “Julien has a huge need for exercise. We used to ride our bikes over long distances a lot, but that became impossible during this period of confinement, even though the rules have been relaxed a bit for autistic people.”
France has allowed disabled people to exercise outside as long as it is within one kilometre of their home.
Magali said: “So one day I said to him ‘come on, let’s go for a run, and that was it!
“He would like to go out several times a day though! He shows me his trainers and waves at me.
“When it is time to go running around the neighbourhood, I don’t try to stop him anymore.
“He is like those husky dogs that are just waiting to hear ‘mush’.”
She added that Julien has not had a meltdown since he started running and is even happier than before the lockdown.
The mum wants to enrol Julien with the Grenoble Universite Athletics Club which is close to the centre where he lives.
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