England World Cup heroes inspire Sunderland autistic boy to write first letter

The power of the World Cup has inspired an autistic Sunderland youngster to put pen to paper for the first time.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 06:00
Jack Berry with his letter to Harry Kane.

Sara Berry was left stunned when her son Jack wrote a letter to England striker Harry Kane.

The 11-year-old was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and is also selective mute and struggles to communicate with anyone.

Jack Berry's letter to Harry Kane.

His mum said for him to put into words his feelings about anything and to express his happiness brought her to tears.

Sara, 38, who lives in South Hylton, said it is the support and hard work of the staff at Columia Grange School in Washington, which has allowed Jack to progress so much that he was able to write the letter.

She said: “When he showed me the letter I filled up. He has never, ever done anything like this before, it is a massive milestone for him.

“I took it in to show his teachers and they were absolutely blown away as well.

Harry Kane celebrates scoring

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“It is not about it being to a footballer, for me it is just the fact that he has actually expressed his happiness about something. He has even drawn his cat on the football.

“The work the staff at Columbia Grange do with autistic children is amazing. I don’t think they get the recognition they deserve.”

In his letter, Jack wrote: “Dear Harry Kane, I am Jack, I am happy with England. You are good at your job you are a nice man. I hope to see you soon, Jack Berry.”

Sara, who is a support worker for adults with special needs, said during the World Cup, Jack was glued to the games.

She said: “He goes through phases with what he is interested in, but with all the hype around the World Cup he has been interested in that.

“He has been totally engrossed with it.

“I know a lot of people are upset they didn’t get through to the final, but Jack seems to be happy with how far they got.

Sara said Jack leaves Columbia Grange, a specialist primary school, to attend Barbara Priestman Academy, which caters for secondary school pupils with special needs, in September.