Sports Clinic for Children With Special Needs

The Problem

Imagine that you are a child with Autism. You want to play soccer, basketball, and baseball, but what is available? Your only option is to join the town’s recreational leagues. If you have been mainstreamed into the community, this may be feasible, but if you lack the necessary social and athletic abilities, it can be a devastating experience. Because the members of these teams are competitive and have rarely been exposed to children with special needs, they can be unintentionally cruel and callous. It is not uncommon for special needs children to feel frustrated when they are often ostracized on the playing field. Most coaches are not trained to work with special needs children. They are primarily concerned with winning for themselves and for their children, and do little to involve and aid exceptional children.

Plan of Action

Starting the clinic was a long process, however, everything was worth it in the end. The children at my clinic have taught my volunteers more than I could have imagined. High school students learned to be patient when the participants do not follow directions the first, second, or even the fifth time. They learned that even the smallest gain, a gain that we usually take for granted, is actually a major achievement for these children. Perhaps most importantly, they learned to see beyond any disability. My sports clinic has brought special needs awareness into the high school community and I have been amazed with the growth of student involvement in my program. Because of the success of Morristown’s clinic, I have been successful in starting other clinics in neighboring communities. I would be delighted to see every community have a clinic similar to my own to accommodate those children unable to function in recreational leagues. My ultimate vision, however, is to spread awareness to young and old alike so that there will be tolerance and acceptance to those children who can be mainstreamed into the community.

Find a Campaign