Brentford praised for improving confidence of six-year-old fan with Down's syndrome
'Where Woody has got quite a lot of differences from other children, football is something that they have all got in common," says six-year-old's mother.
Last Updated: 23/04/19 7:58am
Brentford have been praised by the mum of a six-year-old boy with Down's syndrome for the impact welcoming him into the club has had on his confidence.
Woody O'Rourke, who is non-verbal, has become a huge Brentford fan since the Championship club reached out when he was turned away from his local football team last year and his mum Nat turned to social media to raise awareness of the issue.
Brentford got in contact and invited Woody to be a guest for their Championship fixture against Reading in October and he has since been back to Griffin Park on a number of occasions building a strong bond with the club.
The club welcomed Woody into Brentford Penguins - a football programme for those with Down's syndrome run by former player Allan Cockram, supported by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust as well as DS Active.
Speaking to Sky Sports News on World Down Syndrome Day, Nat highlighted how the link with Brentford has impacted on his behaviour: "The main thing is that it has helped Woody integrate more at school because football is something that lots of little boys have in common.
"Where Woody has got quite a lot of differences from other children, football is something that they have all got in common. They seem to have accepted Woody a lot more now that he is part of Brentford Football Club.
"But it has also really helped with his communication and language because just from being at the games and being here he has picked up some more phrases and he is trying to communicate more."
Nat says Woody, who communicates through sign language and a limited vocabulary, has been welcomed with "open arms" by Brentford and that the inclusivity the club have shown is refreshing.
"[World Down Syndrome Day] is really important because sadly a lot of people don't understand what Down's syndrome is, she added on the importance of the global awareness event.
"They think it is something to be afraid of. A lot of people think it is as them and us thing. What we really want to get across is just to be more inclusive like Brentford Football Club are."
Read more about Woody's Story here. Why not help us celebrate on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #LotsOfSocks, #WorldDownSyndromeDay and #WDSD19 and find out more https://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/