I have been coming to E-Soccer consistently for at least four years. I do it because I know that the program is a unique way to guide children in their development and to the amazing people they are meant to become. I am a recent graduate with a degree in kinesiology and, through volunteering, I have learned that E-Soccer touches the lives of children with special needs by improving their physical, cognitive and social dimensions of health.
Through E-Soccer, children with autism get the opportunity to participate in an organized sporting event where experienced coaches patiently teach them to enhance their motor skills. This is an important tool, since children with special needs typically develop their motor skills at a slower pace than typical children. As a result of motor delay, children with special needs have a high tendency to feel discouraged of their slow progress compared to a typical child. In E-Soccer we help these children adapt to their pace by including them in games, activities, and working one-on-one if necessary.
While some people wonder what the impact of E-Soccer is in cognitive development, it has been observed through research that physical activity actually improves participation and focus in children with special needs. This development in cognition is essential in classrooms, since children with maladaptive behavior will tend to disrupt the class and struggle to learn.
Finally, E-Soccer is beneficial for children with special needs because it is a great opportunity for them to develop their social skills. Since autism is known to affect a person’s communication skills, it is important for them to be developed through playing sports and exercising together with others. In fact, studies show that inclusive physical activities between typical and special needs kids increase the chance of a child being physically active. In my own experience as a coach in E-Soccer, I have seen the friendship between a typical and special need child blossom as they grow older. It is where typical children grow up to learn to have compassion, and where special needs children get the opportunity to have a friend and be encouraged to be physically active.