‘Superhero’ teens teach boy with autism how to skateboard
A group of young South Brunswick teenagers is being praised for their interactions with a 5-year-old boy with autism.
The boy’s mother, Kristen Braconi, made a post on the South Brunswick Community Facebook page stating that she brought her son Carter to the skate park behind the South Brunswick Police Station to celebrate his birthday.
She says that Carter has high-functioning autism and ADHD and is typically uncomfortable in large crowds. She says that when a group of teens showed up at the park he initially thought that he had to leave.
But the teens took Carter under their wing – sang “Happy Birthday” to him and taught him how to skateboard.
“I can’t even begin to thank these kids for being so kind and showing him how wonderful people can be to complete strangers,” Braconi wrote in her post.
One teen in particular - 13-year-old Gavin Mabes, went above and beyond by showing Carter the ropes for riding skateboards. And the two have developed a special bond, despite the difference in age.
In the video Braconi posted, Mabes is seen picking Carter up after he fell down and helps him get right back on the skateboard.
“Some of the guys here, I’ve seen here before and they’ve just helped me out and were nice to me, so I decided to do that with him,” the teen says.
Braconi says that her son can’t stop talking about the day and she says that he seems more outgoing. She says that she even bought all the teens ice cream.
The South Brunswick Police Department also praised the teens.
"It's just so heartwarming to see these kids taking care of other members of the community. That's what it's all about,” says Lt. Gene Rickle.
The teens each received a “challenge coin” from the chief of police as a recognition of their kindness. They will also be treated to a pizza party in school next week - with Carter in a special appearance.