Autistic Boy Proves He Is More Than His Disabilities As He Represents Malaysia’s Under 12 Football Team

At first glance, you would think this young boy is like any other. Full of life, Daniel Hakimi actually has a very painful secret.

We can’t begin to imagine the struggles and efforts Daniel must go through every single day of having to attend school and trying his utmost best at doing what other normal boys do. Age 12, Daniel suffers from autism which affects his cognitive development.

However, that doesn’t stop this Year 6 student of Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Jaya Gading in excelling in extracurricular activities, namely sports.

His father, Mohd Rostam Hassan, 37, said his second child started showing his skills when he used to follow his older brother to his soccer games every week. In the beginning, Daniel’s brother only wanted him to mix around with others as he often prefers being by his lonesome self due to his condition.

"Over time Daniel showed interest in the sport but rather the role of goalkeeper and I decided to send him to intensive training before he was elected to play for the Shahzan Junior team in 2014," his father told mStar.

Daniel’s promising talents has even allowed him to compete to soccer tournaments against Thailand and Singapore!

Playing with the Shahzan Junior team had led Daniel in the International Youth Football Festival in Bangkok, Thailand in March, helping his team win third place.

In fact, the talent of this Kuantan boy was noted by other teams when he was requested to be loaned to Negeri Sembilan Inspire team to play in the Piala Singa in Singapore for the under 12-year-old category which subsequently emerged as champions.

Daniel or his nickname, Abang Mi, had shown a lot of positive changes and has been able to hang out with others and be independent. Although he often needs to be given a clear explanation before undergoing training because his understanding is not the same as other players so he could misinterpret the instructions given which disturbs him emotionally.

Last Sunday, Daniel had received Co-curriculum prize during his school, SK Jaya Gading's prize-giving day. His mother, Norul Huda Md Daud, 34, said her son’s condition was first detected at the age of two. But she and her husband refused to admit to themselves that Daniel is different and treated him like any other normal child.

“However, when he turned 5-years-old, we could sense it as Daniel couldn’t even understand simple instructions given to him before the doctor from Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan had confirmed the diagnosis.

His mother hope the school will continue to provide her son with the encouragement he needs and give chances to other students like Daniel so that he can explore his potential to the fullest.

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