The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons with autism spectrum disorder. The ASP has been in the forefront of providing services and training to families living with autism.

25 April 2014

PBA, SM Cares hold 1st basketball clinic for special kids

This article appeared on 9 April 2014, Wednesday in The Philippine Star.

The first-ever basketball clinic for special children was held over the weekend conducted by coaches of the Philippine Basketball Association All-Star at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Some 20 children with Down Syn­drome and Autism were treated to an afternoon of basketball game and relays to introduce them to the sports as one of the activities in the 2014 PBA All-Star Week festivities at the MOA.


Co-sponsored by the PBA and MOA Arena and SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, the children were taught dribbling, passing the ball, ball handling and shooting by PBA All Star coach Tim Cone, SanMig assistant coaches Richard Del Rosario and Jeffrey Cariaso and San Sebastian coach Topex Robinson.

Arnold Alegre, who took some of the kids to the basketball clinic, said they are delighted that the PBA coaches took time out from their busy schedules to be with the special children to conduct the first of its kind in the country.

He said playing sports is one of the best therapies that should be given to children with Down Syndrome and Autism because it teaches them focus, improves their physical development and gives them the chance to bond with other kids.

"Sports boosts confidence and they get to interact with other 'children. That opens up a whole lot of experience for them which improves their well-being," Alegre, a special education teacher said who has made helping special children a lifelong commitment.

One example he said is one of his stu­dents, Paul Garcia, a child with autism and one of the participants in the sports . clinic. "He was not interested in sports before, he was fat. He did not want to do anything. So we started to have him into some physical activity. He had strength and that was why he got into weight-lifting. The first year he joined the Paralympics, he became the national champion," he said.
He said society should be more open to people with autism and Down Syndrome because they could be productive members of the society if given all the support.

"We have to see beyond the disability. We have to remove the dis from disability because they have the drive to attain the skill they can be interested in. It's very easy to teach them because they value routine and they are good at it. You teach them a certain drill or ritual once and they remember it for the rest of their lives. They stick to it. But this could only be achieved if we train them. We have to make them productive," he said.
Alegre said they are thankful to the SM group for its never-ending support. "It's not hard to talk to them especially for the causes we push. They always have a heart for PWDs. They always give their all-out support just like for this project," he said.

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