independent

Thursday 23 October 2014

Autism soccer camps a big hit

JOHN MANNING

Published 16/10/2012 | 11:09

SWORDS-BASED Snowflakes Autism Support Group have teamed up with the FAI to run soccer camps recently as part of a programme intended to promote the idea that football is for all.

These sessions have proven to be a huge hit both with Snowflakes members and their siblings. A spokesperson for the group said: ' We have had up to 30 children attending these sessions and they have had great fun.' And the parents of Snowflakes children have really appreciated the effort made by the group in putting on the camps too as a letter to the autism support group proves. One parent wrote: ' My son is 10 and gave up on football a long time ago. When I told him I was taking him to football on Saturday, two weeks ago, he moaned that he hated football. He left that first session with a completely different attitude. He actually asked if he could go back the next week. He loved it. And he made a friend.' The Snowflakes parent continued: ' What's great about it is the variety, when the coaches see the kids tuning out they change things around, the huge encouragement they all get no matter what their level of skill, the fact that there's no pressure and if they're having a bad day they can strop off and no one minds. 'Also its fantastic that its a mix of kids and siblings, this is great idea. The games and the matches are all great fun. At the end of the second week my son came home saying how good he was at football and he liked it now. 'To watch him play in the football match and he knowing where the ball was and kicking it was amazing from my point of view. I thought I'd never see it. His two younger siblings love it as well so its a great hours exercise for them all.' The final session of the successful programme was last Saturday but it proved such a success nobody will be surprised if it becomes an annual thing. It all ended with a joyous prize-giving and even the Fingal Mayor, Cian O'Callaghan (Lab) dropped in to congratulate the Snowflake kids on their efforts. The support group thanked the FAI who provided fantastic help and support during the past few months of the programme and Snowflakes have reminded other groups that the FAI is more than happy to provide similar support to any clubs who are interested in starting such a programme.

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