Thomas Ivor with his triathlon kit

Thomas Ivor Jones is just nine years old and is autistic. We spoke with Thomas Ivor and his dad, Tom, about the incredible challenge he’s undertaking and why he is getting involved with World Autism Awareness Week.

Thomas Ivor is gearing up to take on the ultimate version of the 7k for 700k challenge during World Autism Awareness Week.

He’ll be cycling 7k with his trusty bike, 'King Louis', followed by running for 7k and swimming another 7k – all in one day! He’s already more than doubled his original fundraising target, and he’s still going.

Just two years ago, running 500m was a stretch for Thomas Ivor, and he certainly wouldn’t have dreamed of getting into the water. His sensory difficulties, particularly proprioception, made it difficult for him to learn new body movements. His teachers understood he was completely capable of being a strong swimmer, and with a little understanding and tailored teaching – they were right!

Thomas Ivor has been home-educated by his dad for almost two years now. It’s been really challenging for him, but he’s used it as an opportunity to channel his interests and do something extraordinary with it. 

He completed the 7k challenge early because his family are hopeful he will have a school place by the time World Autism Awareness Week arrives, but if he's still waiting when the week comes, Thomas Ivor is planning to do it a second time! 

What does World Autism Awareness Week mean to Thomas Ivor?

“I don’t like calling autism a disability, I just think it’s a different type of person. It’s hidden – it has an effect on my life, and my family’s life – and I see this as an opportunity to draw attention and speak out to other kids in situations like mine. I want to give them courage to stand up and talk about their experiences like I am, so people can start to understand and make changes.

"I think if I can help children of my generation to start to understand my differences better, they will be helpful. As a child I hope I can get the message to them that bit quicker and together we can learn more about the different ways we experience the world.

"I want other autistic kids to know you can achieve, you can fulfil your ambitions and do some really incredible things.”

Take part in 7k for 700k