Tag Archive for 'autismo'

10 summer camp goals for young with intellectual disability

What we learn from a summer camp for youth with intellectual disabilities (ID).

  1. 5 hours of activities alternating between soccer, motor coordination and with the ball, and expressive activities are an adequate amount of time for everyone, even the youngest (6/7 years old) and those with more serious disorders.
  2. We have estimated that a week of summer camp of 25 hours is equivalent to 2 months of bi-weekly training of two hours.
  3. 5 hours of activity carried out outdoors and in total safety represents a unique experience that almost all young people with ID do not experience. Thus, satisfaction of basic needs, such as drinking and eating, is trained properly.
  4. The management of fatigue, and therefore the alternation of moments of activity with those of recovery, is another significant factor in the empowerment of these young people, who usually carry out activities at low intensity, with little energy expenditure and in indoor environments.
  5. Young people can alternate activity phases with recovery moments, without compromising the effectiveness of sports training, since the amount of time available also allows for these phases of breaks within it.
  6. Young people develop an ability to relate to each other, fostered by the breaks and the moments of transition from one activity to the next.
  7. Soccer is a sport of group and communication among players. This necessity stimulates increased verbal interactions among youth who have a verbal skill level of even a few words.
  8. The adult who leads the activities becomes an effective reference for all of them, to respond to the needs that continually emerge during the activity, and is also a facilitator of respect for the rules of life in common in the group.
  9. The motor and sport development of soccer is thus trained with a continuity and frequency that the usual one-hour training sessions do not allow. These young people with ID receive much more feedback on their activities during summer camp and can put it into practice more frequently given the large number of hours they are involved in each day.
  10. Parents are all particularly pleased to see their children’s involvement in this wide variety of activities and to see their motor and psychosocial progress.

“Summer Together” for young with intellectual disabiliY

The “Summer Together” camp, organized by Roma Cares together with the Academy of Integrated Football, for young people with intellectual disabilities continues with young people who have greater functional limitations in terms of motor and psychosocial. They too are engaged from 8 am to 1 pm for 5 days a week. Describing their activity is more complex than for youth with a higher level of functioning. The reason for this greater difficulty in describing it stems from the fact that they do a 1-to-1 activity, a student and a coach/psychologist. Their activity is organized of a series of motor routes but that each one accomplishes in his own way, following his own rhythm and the need to rest after the activity phases. It takes a lot of patience, enthusiasm and professionalism on the part of the adults. They must work aware of the extreme difficulties of improvement.

It is not easy to have this approach but this is the purpose of our work not only during the year but also at summer camp. We have measured that one week of summer camp (25 hours) is equivalent in terms of quantity and motor and psychological experience to two months of training. Very few scientific investigations have studied this phenomenon, demonstrating the little interest that organized sports activity has aroused so far in the scientific community.

We hope to continue this activity of summer camps in the coming years to be able to document in a continuous way the improvements of these young people and the didactic methodology useful to produce these results.

“Summer Together”: soccer for young with intellectual disability

“Summer Together” camp has begun, promoted by Roma Cares in collaboration with Accademia Calcio Integrato with youth ages 6-18 with intellectual disabilities playing soccer. Second day, the boys and girls arrive at the camp and start playing in the big pitch. Peaceful environment, they shoot on goal. This happens while waiting for the other teammates to arrive. Then we listen and sing the Italian anthem all together.

Training begins with coordination exercises with the ball, divided into two groups of 5. There are 3 AS Roma coaches following them, providing technical instructions and encouraging them to keep up the pace of the exercise.

Different sized shots on goal on stations, rotating every few minutes.

These are young people who have been training with us for a long time, some for 6 years others for 4. The summer camp is 5 hours on 5 days per week (the global group in three weeks will be of 90 young). The group of 10 I’m talking about is made up of young people with intellectual disabilities with good motor functioning even though some have difficulty running, some would mostly walk and run a few steps, and some are very fast. Some need more than others to alternate minutes of activity with a break (in any case it is very hot here in Rome).

For the latter, having many hours available to train is important, since in this way they have the opportunity to train for an overall long period of time, while during the weekly training sessions, stopping for 20 minutes means losing almost 40% of the training time, which is 50 minutes.

Of course there are also moments of tension, some boys show restlessness, someone else argues with a teammate, someone responds impulsively or takes offense because they do not pass the ball, others get tired and are prone to isolation.

These difficulties can be resolved with the patience of the coaches who understand these problems, but above all thanks to the fact that the game continues and these episodes do not disturb those who play. In this sense the continuity of the activity is a stimulus to those who leave to return to play. This is because, in any case, the objective is to maintain a positive and pleasant atmosphere that, in the end, outweighs any difficulties encountered.

With an image we can say that the river flows, when a boy/girl lives a more critical moment, its flowing helps to solve individual problems because the collective continues the activity, so everything flows and then you get to the sea where everything ends.

Coaches carry out their leadership role with understanding and closeness but in a firm manner. This attitude of theirs is the essential cornerstone for which everything flows, despite the fact that we are coaching young people with intellectual disabilities.

A lot of work is done to bring value to coaching. This is the reason why listening to and singing together the Italian anthem and before the final match the Champions League anthem are moments that precede significant moments of the training. It’s obvious, finally, that wearing the AS Roma uniform is another unifying factor, a way for these young athletes to feel proud and part of something that in their perception is immense.
In the next few days I will tell you about the experience of other young people who participate at “Estate Insieme”.

World Autism Awareness Day

genitori « Alberto Cei

Football and autism

There are few research studies conducted on the topic of soccer and autism, below are the studies on youth with ASD presented in an article by Vetri and Roccella (2020). On the Playing Field to Improve: A Goal for Autism. Medicine, 56.

Hayward et al. (2016) investigated a group of 18 children with ASD (7-11 years old) who participated in a 16-week community-based program The authors assessed physical activity outcomes such as pre- and post-football skills, participant attendance, and parent satisfaction. The purpose of their soccer program was to teach children with ASD the basic soccer skills while giving them the opportunity to have fun and interact with peers. The results supported the feasibility and effectiveness of a soccer program because they showed improvements in shot accuracy and agility on the 15-yard line. Parents’ overall satisfaction was very good and perceived their children as more active and enjoying playing soccer

Calcio Insieme is a project promoted by the Fondazione Roma Cares (a non-profit organization linked to AS ROMA and the sport association Accademia di Calcio Integrato). Cei et al. (2017) recruited 30 children with ASD (6-13 years old) to study the effects of a soccer-based training program. All children underwent initial and final quantitative motor assessment. The authors used a qualitative approach to assess psychosocial skills at the beginning and end of the training period through interviews with their parents and teachers of the youth. Results showed that parents and teachers perceived most children with ASD to have improved psychosocial and communication skills. Motor skills assessed quantitatively showed significant improvement in the following six out of ten tests: walking between cones, running between cones, rolling on the mat, jumping high (three 20/30 cm obstacles), grasping (five throws from 1 to 5 m away from the instructor), and staying balanced on the jellyfish.

A third research was conducted by Chambers and Radley (2020) who used a different approach. preferring a peer-mediated intervention to promote skill acquisition in children with ASD. The authors selected three male students with autism (ages 11 and 12, respectively) and instructed a 14-year-old peer interventionist common to all three participants. The soccer skills assessed were throwing, kicking, and defense. During the training sessions, the peer explained and demonstrated soccer skills to the children with ASD and provided technical instruction after practice to correct errors. At the end of the study, the three participants rapidly acquired the coached soccer skills and accuracy in executing the skills persisted over time, in the absence of any peer intervention.

10 reasons to play football for young with autism

10 ragioni per cui i giovani con disabilità intellettiva traggono beneficio dal gioco del calcio
  1. Il calcio è lo sport più amato dai giovani di tutto il mondo: si può giocare ovunque, al chiuso e all’aperto, ogni luogo si può trasformare in un campo di calcio e chiunque indipendentemente dalle sue capacità può giocare una partita.
  2. Il pallone è un strumento sportivo senza rivali: lo puoi calciare con i piedi o con le mani e colpire con ogni parte del corpo; tutti possono passare la palla, tirare in porta o provare a parare un tiro. Dai un pallone a un gruppo di bambini e non si stancheranno di rincorrerlo.
  3. Il calcio favorisce l’inclusione di tutti, ogni ragazzo o ragazza può correre dietro una palla, toglierla a un altro, tirare, passare e parare.
  4. I giovani con disabilità intellettiva sono di solito esclusi dal gioco del calcio, perché sono rare le opportunità che gli vengono offerte.
  5. Giocare a calcio e con il pallone gli permette di stare con i compagni di classe, con i loro amici e di conoscerne di nuovi.
  6. Calcio è stare all’aria aperta, vedere le stagioni anche se si vive in città e imparare a muoversi con gli altri quando fa freddo o caldo o quando tira vento.
  7. Calcio è partecipare a un allenamento centrato su apprendimenti nuovi che determinano il miglioramento delle abilità motorie di base, coordinazione, abilità tecnico- tattiche, abilità di comunicazione, collaborazione e cognitivo-affettive.
  8. Calcio è stare in gruppo insieme durante l’allenamento, condividere gli stessi spazi, esercitandosi da soli ma anche con un altro compagno o in piccoli gruppi.
  9. Calcio è vestire la divisa della propria squadra, la Roma, andare allo stadio insieme a tutto il gruppo a vedere le partite e andare a scuola con questa uniforme, essere riconosciuti dai compagni come allievi della scuola calcio della Roma.
  10. Calcio è integrazione, allenandosi e partecipando a tornei e giocando partite di calcio integrato 5vs5 composte da tre giovani con disabilità intellettiva e due giovani della AS Roma.

Workshop: Football and inclusion.AS Roma experience with the young with intellectual disabilities

Calcio Insieme è un progetto di empowerment psicologico, relazionale e motorio tramite il calcio per giovani con disabilità intellettiva, con particolare riferimento al disturbo dello spettro autistico.

Dal 2015 la Fondazione Roma Cares, espressione della responsabilità sociale dell’AS Roma Calcio, e Asd Accademia Calcio Integrato orga- nizzano su base annuale programmi di sviluppo motorio attraverso il gioco del calcio per bambini con disabilità intellettive. Le indagini condotte hanno evidenziato la costante presenza dei bambini durante le attività e la soddisfazione delle loro famiglie e i benefici motori, sportivi e psicosociali che derivano da questi programmi.

Scopo di questo Seminario è di presentare i risultati delle ricerche condotte, illustrare il modello d’intervento, realizzato per la prima volta nel calcio giovanile con la collaborazione degli istruttori della AS Roma, degli psicologi dello sport, del logopedista, dei medici e dei responsabili dei rapporti con le scuole e le famiglie.

Sport for young people with intellectual disabilities is not possible at the moment

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the odds to access sports were stacked much higher for youth with a disability than the general population. Physical activity levels are 4.5 times lower for youth with a disability, and the obesity rate is 38% higher for these children, according to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity & Disability (NCHPAD).

Now, as youth sports start to return from COVID-19 in some states, the gap to access opportunities may grow even wider. The disabled community is taking a more conservative approach on when and how to play sports again because of health concerns.

I n the area of intellectual disability that I deal with  the project Calcio Insieme, we were unable to organize the summer camps precisely because of the difficulty in maintaining physical distance with these children. 

“People with disabilities are very much being more cautious,” said Bob Lujano, NCHPAD inclusion specialist and a former Paralympic rugby athlete. “There’s great fear of, if I do come down with (COVID-19) and I go to a hospital with only one or two ventilators, am I going to be passed over because Joe Smith, a 25-year-old without a disability, will get taken care of first?”

“Being ‘first’ in your community should be avoided,” Move United said in its return to play guidelines. “Take the benefit of some time to learn from other effective strategies, plan carefully, train your providers and form local partnerships that help prepare for the safest possible environment.”

Disability alone may not be related to higher risk for contracting COVID-19 or having severe illness, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, CDC says some people with disabilities might be at a higher risk because of their underlying medical conditions. According to CDC, adults with disabilities are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.

One significant concern about returning to sports is maintaining the safety of staff and volunteers in cases where youth need help to play.

Experts told The New York Times that one way to teach new concepts during COVID-19 to kids with intellectual disabilities is through “social stories.” These are individualized short stories that pair simple language with pictures used for children with disorders such as autism. They also recommend using color-coded circles to teach social distancing – such as red for strangers, orange for people you would normally wave to, green and yellow for casual and close friends, and blue for people you can hug, such as parents or siblings.

We have to be cautious, as they say, with Roma Cares and Accademia di Calcio Integrato we are planning what the return to football will look like for our young people with autism from September, the beginning of the 2020/21 football season. It will not be easy but it is our will not to stop this activity so important for these young people, the families and for us who have been organizing it for 5 years.

We will need more space and more hours to cover the same number of young people, so as to respect the physical distance and the possibility to play football which requires a large and structured space.

How Autism families are coping with coronavirus

In a new national survey, families of children with autism say that services have been severely disrupted because of coronavirus, but they are adapting and even finding some silver linings.

With schools and other providers shuttered, more than 75 percent of families reported moderate to severe interruptions to their children’s services and therapies, with speech therapy the most impacted. The disruptions were more pronounced for kids under age 5.

The findings come from a survey of over 8,000 families with children on the spectrum about life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online questionnaire was sent to families that have participated in SPARK, a broad effort to collect and study genetic data from people with autism and their families that’s funded by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.

At the time of the survey — which was conducted between March 20 and 30 — about a third of families said they were receiving remote services or therapies. And, nearly half said they were seeing benefits.

More than 62 percent reported that their child with autism was feeling good overall and about half of parents said the same of themselves. At the same time, however, nearly everyone who responded said the disruptions caused by coronavirus had negatively impacted the behavior of their child with autism and 82 percent said it had affected their child’s mental and emotional health. Parents also cited concerns about losing hard-won skills.

Still, some parents reported seeing positives amid the challenges. One parent indicated that her child struggled at school socially and with communication, but seemed happier and calmer at home. Others said that online classes allowed their kids to move at a slower pace.

Hundreds of parents said that breathing exercises, yoga, prayer, meditation and other mindfulness exercises have been helpful in dealing with the situation. Maintaining a daily schedule was also crucial to preventing behavior issues, the survey found.”

Overweight and obesity risk for children with autism

Chanaka N. Kahathuduwa et al. (2019). The risk of overweight and obesity in children with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 20, 667–1679.

This meta‐analysis provides evidence‐based support to suggest that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) seem to have a greater risk of developing overweight or obesity, particularly when living in the United States. Our results also highlighted non‐Caucasian race, increasing age, female sex, and living in the United States as potential factors associated with an increased risk of developing overweight and obesity in children with ASD.

The mechanisms through which ASD may increase the risk of excessive weight gain and the contributions of the moderators of this association need to be established in pancontinental studies.

Based on our findings, awareness must be raised among practitioners, especially in the United States, about the increased risk of obesity in children with ASD. Clinicians need to be vigilant about these issues, identify potential contributors to the association between ASD and obesity, and develop early interventions to reduce weight gain in this pediatric population.