The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

14 August 2014

Exceptional Soccer

Despite the gloomy weather, 11 children with autism from ASP joined the Exceptional Children Soccer (E-Soccer) program held at The Camp in Taguig City last 02 August 2014, which intended to create awareness for the needs of special kids through sports and to launch E-Soccer Philippines as an organization that would create sustainable program for these kids.

Carol de Vega, the lead organizer, said that the event aims to make the community aware that children with special needs are also into sports, which in turn helps boost their confidence. She also emphasized that thru this clinic, volunteers will take away their fears in handling children with special needs, by interacting with them. De Vega is a mother of a child with autism and is a volunteer of E-Soccer in the United States.

“My son, Al, really enjoyed playing soccer because he loves balls, he love sports, and he loves everything that is round,” Mommy Rae of Pasay Chapter said. Al’s trainers had special praises for him because he listened well to their instruction, even if he cannot speak. “It helps him socialize and he is very happy, kapag sports na ang ginagawa nya. It helps lalo na sa sensory problem ng isang batang may autism,” the proud mom said. She was also happy to learn that the lady volunteers were attracted to Al’s cuteness.

PWAs enjoy playing soccer

Romeo and Jeng Rodriguez of UP-CAMP Manila made this event an opportunity to bond with their son, Rolo. Both parents were proud to see their son playing soccer. “He seemed to understand that the reason he is kicking the ball is to make a goal. He would not make such a move unless he likes it,” Romeo said. “My son likes to run and the court was a really big place for him to run around. It was a good break from his usual routine, for we don’t have much area in the house to run,” Jeng said. Both parents agreed that sports clinic like this helps develop a child with autism. “This type of clinic helps special kids enjoy the game. It provides the kids a break from their routines and hopefully help them have more focus in whatever they do,” he said. Jeng mentioned that Rolo often watch soccer games on TV with his father, who is a soccer fanatic. So playing on the real soccer field helps Rolo build his interest in the game. Both parents agreed that the clinic should continue or have multiple sessions, in order for children with autism to develop, learn and hone their skills. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear Rolo say “Go to Football Clinic on Aug 2” next year. If he can remember it, that means he liked it,” Jeng said.

E-Soccer is an all-volunteer, inclusive soccer program for typical and special needs children in the US. It started in the year 2000 at Foster City, California and spread throughout California. It is currently expanding outside the US. Bangalore, India and Nairobi, Kenya are now part of the global locations of the organization. The purpose of the organization is to provide soccer workshops which will promote leadership, social, character, and athletic development for children.

About the contributor: Raphael Torralba is the Program Coordinator of ASP and its resident photographer. He is a former media photojournalist and a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Computer-Based Information Systems. His advocacy to serve the PWD community has been recognized by the National Council on Disability Affairs. Raph's youngest brother, Patrick, is on the spectrum.


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