Tom Morgan sitting on a bench with a sunset in the background

Hotshot rugby player and star of TV show The Undateables, Tom Morgan, is here to tell us all about his passion for rugby and the difficulties he’s faced playing team sports as an autistic person…

When did you first start playing rugby?

"I started playing when I was four years old."

What have been your biggest sporting achievements to date?

"Playing in the same team as my brother in the Welsh Youth Cup final and winning it in the Millennium Stadium was absolutely amazing. I was also very lucky to be given the chance to train with a professional rugby team – but a lack of awareness and understanding of autism from the team manager and coaches became a huge barrier for me which, in turn, knocked my confidence and I ended up walking away from this great opportunity."

Have you ever felt that autism has been a barrier for you achieving your goals?

"It definitely has been a barrier for me. Being misunderstood by coaches has been the biggest problem I’ve experienced – they need to break down the training in a way so it’s easier for me and other autistic people to take part; they assume we’re just like everyone else and we’re not."

How easy is it for an autistic person to get into team sports?

"I find playing a team sport has given me loads more confidence and a real drive to always do my best. People need to understand the positive impact that taking part in team sports can have for autistic people who can feel isolated if they’re not given the opportunity. Just being a bit more understanding of how autistic people experience the world can go a long way."

What are your tips for those who want to support autistic people in sport?

"Go and attend an autism in sports training session to give the coaches an insight into autistic people’s thought processes and the way we interpret certain situations. It’s really important that you’re completely honest with everyone straight from the start so they can be more understanding and helpful."

What do you want the world to know about autism?

"Just because I have Asperger’s doesn’t mean I’m unemployable. Autism doesn’t just affect me - it also affects my family and friends. We sometimes feel isolated.

"It’s a life-long hidden condition that the public need to know more about in order to understand someone on the spectrum and have more insight and more awareness to be able to relate to someone with autism."

To learn more about how a sudden change of plan can impact an autistic person like Tom, watch our new film.

If you want to make a small change in your behaviour that will help reduce the overload for an autistic person, take one of our pledges.

Make a pledge