• STV
  • MySTV

Brothers with autism and ADHD find their feet with ballet

Aidan, Matthew and Andrew Young say that the hobby has helped change their lives.

In a small, top-floor room on a rainy November evening, three brothers have arrived early for class and are meticulously practising their steps.

Aidan, Matthew and Andrew Young, from Aberdeen, love dancing, and it's through this joy of ballet that they're really starting to find their feet.

Aidan, 11, and nine-year-old Matthew are on the autistic spectrum, while Andrew, seven, has ADHD.

Despite only taking up dancing recently, their mother says it has changed their lives.

"It's wonderful. The boys are happy, they're more sociable, they're engaging with friends," explains Catriona Young.

"We didn't think that was going to happen, so for us as a family it's huge.

"School's been really difficult for the boys, but dancing really brings them out of their shells."
Catriona Young

"School's been really difficult for the boys, but dancing really brings them out of their shells.

"You see them smile and as a family we can now do things that we were never really able to do before. That's important."

Matthew was the first to be bitten by the dancing bug, asking his mum for ballet lessons after becoming transfixed by the animated film Ballerina.

"I like ballet, it makes me feel happy and I've got friends here," Matthew says.

It wasn't long before Matthew's brothers also signed up for classes at the Aberdeen Academy of Performing Arts.

"I really enjoy dancing and meeting people here, they're all really nice," adds Aidan.

"I just like being here."

Andrew quips: "My favourite are all the leaps that you can do." 

Aidan and Matthew practising their ballet moves.
Aidan and Matthew practising their ballet moves. STV

The brothers are currently rehearsing for the Academy's production of Swan Lake, which is being performed at Aberdeen's Tivoli Theatre on Sunday.

"They've just fitted in so well to the class, it's been fabulous," says dance teacher Rachel Young.

"Dancing gives them a sense of belonging and confidence. There are no labels, no special treatment.

"This place is an outlet for them to have fun and express themselves. It's a safe zone.

"They've definitely made friends for life here."

Matthew now has ambitions of becoming a professional dancer.

His mother says she hopes the story of her three boys will encourage other parents whose children may be struggling to consider the benefits of dancing.

"Definitely try it, would be my advice," she says.

"My boys have been welcomed here with open arms. It's a special, magical thing."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.