Tag Archive for 'bambini'

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Motor and psychosocial development in children with intellectual disabilities through soccer

Movimento

Rivista di Psicologia e Scienze del Movimento e dello Sport

n.2/3, 2016, 63 pagine

Roma: Edizioni Luigi Pozzi

 

Lo sviluppo motorio e psicosociale in bambini con disabilità intellettive attraverso il calcio

Motor and psychosocial development in children with intellectual disabilities through soccer

 

Alberto Cei*’, Paolo Franceschi^, Michele Rosci^, Daniela Sepio’ e Bruno Ruscello°

*Università San Raffaele, Roma e ASD Calcio Integrato

^AS Roma Calcio

‘ASD Calcio Integrato

°Università di Tor Vergata, Roma

 

Parole chiave: bambini, autismo, calcio, apprendimento, empowerment 

Key words: children, autism, soccer, learning, empowerment

 

 

Abstract 

Calcio Insieme (Soccer Together) is a project promoted by Roma Cares Foundation, non-profit organization linked to the broader context of Social Responsibility and Sustainability of AS ROMA and A.S.D. Accademia di Calcio Integrato, whose objective is the development of education and culture integrated to the values of sport through the soccer.

Soccer is the sport most loved and practiced by girls and boys around the world, but for young people with developmental difficulties are rare, if not absent, the opportunities allowing them to live this sport as an educational and playful experience. Therefore, this applied research project, spread over three years, is aimed at children (6-12 years) with intellectual disabilities and with particular reference to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Soccer Together project wants to promote the physical activity and soccer teaching for these children, in order to improve the quality of their lives through a continuous sport practice over time. Furthermore, this project wants also to develop a methodology model of teaching, tailored for these children, through this applied research.

Soccer Together began in September 2015 with the collaboration of some schools of Roma. They promoted among families of children with intellectual disabilities the knowledge of this initiative. They organized information meetings lead by the staff of Soccer Together to start building a community whose school, family, sport organization and staff could feel part of a common project at its center there are the children with intellectual disabilities and especially those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since the beginning the project has had as main focus the empowerment of each child through the soccer, as recommended by the International Paralympic Committee.

To better understand the different steps of the experiment carried out by the technical-scientific staff of Soccer Together at the Giulio Onesti Center, in Roma, it’s important to acknowledge what are the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and what are the limits and the motor/psychological potential of children with ASD; the report describes in detail the main features and the research results.

This report begins with an overview of autism spectrum disorders and what are the limits and the motor potential of these children. It emerges that, up to now, the experiences carried out in this area included only individual sports and that no investigation has been conducted to test how the group sports and soccer specifically could be a means of improving the motor/sports skills and the psychological and interpersonal skills. In the section devoted to the method are described the diagnoses of 30 children (27 boys and 3 girls). They  have participated in the project by attending at the training program for an hour twice a week for 5 months. They were divided into two sub-groups (Green and Red) as a function of their motor skills and psycho-relational competences. All children were subjected to the initial and final motor assessment. Similarly it proceeded with the psychological and interpersonal evaluation carried out at the beginning and at the end of the program. This was done through interviews with parents and their school teachers and an assessment carried out on the field for the duration of the period of activities carried out by the football coaches and the sport psychologists. In addition, before the start of the program, the whole staff,  including sport psychologists, youth football instructors, one speech therapist, one sport physician and one coordinator of the relations with families and schools have participated in a specific training, theoretical and practical, learning to be sensitive and to work with young individuals with developmental disorders. The results showed that in relation to motor skills there are significant differences from the initial assessment in relation to 6 tests out of 10. The children improved in tests regarding: walking between the cones, running between the cones, roll on the mat, high jump (3 obstacles 20 / 30cm), grab (5 launches from 1 to 5 meters away from the instructor) and stay balanced on jellyfish.

In relation to run with the ball (to drive the ball into a space 15m long and 4m wide) were detected two results. The first is that, even at the end of the program, 39.3% of children did not show any improvement. The second is of opposite sign and shows that 28.6% is placed in an intermediate skill level. They drive the ball, move frequently left and right even if out of the lane. In addition, 10.7% shows a medium-high skill level, driving the ball without leaving the lane. These data show there is a significant difference from the point of view of the motor competences among the children, while for some the training it’s characterized more as motor activity oriented to the acquisition of basic motor patterns, for others it’s oriented to  teach the soccer fundamentals.

The questionnaire administered at the end of the program to the parents of the children examined the following skills: cooperation, participation in the games, understanding the others and be understood, communicate with each other, socialize, approach the new situations/people and reduction of behavioral problems. For each of these skills, the parents have expressed a final assessment, it showed that they believe their children are improved significantly. It’s also interesting to note that the same questionnaire was administered to school support teachers of children and the resulting data are similar to those experienced by parents. Assessments made on the field by sport psychologists and coaches have shown that most of young people have improved, even if  they achieved very different skill levels, depending on the difficulty level initially expressed. For the future, there are clearly detectable paths of physical activity and sports differentiating the two children groups (Red and Green).

In summary, these data confirm the findings of the research review conducted on people with autism spectrum disorder (Sowa e Meulenbroek, 2012). That is to say, that the motor/sport skills increase with specific program of motor/sports learning. Our study adds that the organization of training sessions in group interventions and individual interventions promote the development of social skills, as in part it has been showed by Walker, Barry and Bader (2010). This pilot study has also responded to the request to organize “a naturalistic intervention based on group sports like soccer” (Sowa and Meulenbroek, 2012; p.56) and, till now it was never been documented. In addition, as already showed (Luiselli 2014), the behavioral problems were reduced, decreasing the stereotyped movements and the self-stimulation behaviors.

Finally, it should be mentioned those results achieved which are not identifiable in scientific terms but that at the same time are important for a project with the aim to reduce the limits of the children with ASD and widen their skills at 360 degrees. The most significant are the following: the first football games played between them and the coaches and two games 4vs4 with players of Roma Academy; the identification process with AS Roma has increased the children socialization and stimulated their pride being a part of Roma team; live this experience with professionals totally dedicated to them and willing to respect the times of socialization and learning while not ceasing to guide them in the activities; for families it has been important to meet each other, sharing these experiences and feeling themselves as an active part of the project.

Soccer Together: experience and field study conducted with children with intellectual disabilities

The next issue of the Italian Journal in Sport and exercise Psychology will be devoted to the experience and field research of integrated soccer conducted with 30 boys and girls (6-12 years old). More information write at this blog.

Praise of walking

Walking is the first thing an infant wants to do and the last thing an old person wants to give up.  Walking is the exercise that does not need a gym.  It is the prescription without medicine, the weight control without diet, and the cosmetic that can’t be found in a chemist.  It is the tranquilliser without a pill, the therapy without a psychoanalyst, and the holiday that does not cost a penny.  What’s more, it does not pollute, consumes few natural resources and is highly efficient.  Walking is convenient, it needs no special equipment, is self-regulating and inherently safe.  Walking is as natural as breathing.

John Butcher, Founder Walk21

The weight condition of the child’s is correlated with that of the parents. In fact, when at least one parent is overweight 22.2% of the children is overweight and 5.6% obese. When at least one parent is obese, 30.7% of children are overweight and 13.3% obese. These data regards Modena, city in the Central Italy, other Regions showed worst results.

Soccer School for children with intellectual disabilities

«AS Roma is pleased to announce that, since January 2016, the Club promotes and supports the “Calcio Insieme”, a program born from the collaboration between the Fondazione Roma Cares e l’Associazione dilettantistica “Calcio integrato” the training pitch of Italian Olympic Center “Giulio Onesti” were made available at boys and girls, aged between six and twelve years old, suffering from intellectual disabilities of various levels, supported by a pool of doctors, speech therapists and instructors.
The goals are the development of the physical and psychosocial well-being of children, the reduction of stress related to their living conditions, to increase their self-assessment skills and the motivation to motor activity.
A technical team of AS Roma, with sport psychologists, has developed specific educational methodologies to create a safe, comfortable and never boring environment.
Among the results expected, there is the development of the culture of integration  and the education to the values ​​of sport through the soccer.
“Roma is a great social platform, and we are conscious of the responsibility that comes – says the AS Roma general manager, Mauro Baldissoni -. I hope this is one of the many experiments that we will put up in action. Sport has always been an aggregator and along a motivational tool to go over the limits. Have on the pitch children with intellectual disabilities  is a chance for them to improve.”
The instructors were joined by a medical team, coordinated by Professor Alberto Cei, scientific director of “Calcio Insieme”, looking closely the progress of these young athletes, looking for improvements in the movement coordination, in their self-awareness or more simply in daily life.
“Soccer can be a vital tool to help children with mental disabilities to develop yourself – explains Patrizia Minocchi, president of ASD Calcio Integrato-. This magical tool, the ball, has already yielded the first results, the children are learning to relate with the others.”»

“Too Small to Fail” very useful for parents and adults

Read Too Small to Fail very useful for parents and adults.

Focusing. Creating. Cooperating. Communicating. These are all important skills children learn when we play with them! Through play, children learn how to problem solve, work together, explore physical movements, overcome challenges, and much more. Play helps children develop critical social-emotional and language skills that will help prepare them for success in school and in life.

As children’s first and best playmates, parents and caregivers play a powerful role in nurturing these skills from birth. Here are a few tips on how you can encourage learning through play:

  • Make the most of your time playing with your child. From they day they are born, children learn through the everyday moments they share with their parents and caregivers. Check out these helpful tips from ZERO TO THREE.

Keep a box of everyday objects like plastic bottles, empty containers or old clothes for dress up. These are great items to help children spark their imagination. Through creative play, children explore the world in their own way, which is important for learning and development. Check out Raising Children Network for fun creative play activities.

Hanan Al Hroub: the best teacher in the world is in Palestine

Hanan Al Hroub is the winner of the 2016 Global Teacher Prize.  Hanan Al Hroub, from Samiha Khalil High School, Al-Bireh, Palestine, grew up in Bethlehem refugee camp where she was regularly exposed to acts of violence. She went into primary education after her children were left deeply traumatised by a shooting incident they witnessed on their way home from school. She specialises in supporting children traumatised by violence. “I am proud to be a Palestinian female teacher standing on this stage. I accept this as a win for all teachers in general and Palestinian teachers in particular,” Al Hroub said. ”We, as teachers can build the values and morals of young minds to ensure a fair world, a more beautiful world and a more free world. “The future seems far and ambiguous, however, when you are involved in making it, the world represents a light.”

Her teaching is based on the following idea “No to violence through playing and learning,”

“We must teach our children that our only weapon is knowledge and education.”

The sport psychologist in football school… is elite

The Italian Football Federation was the only one Federation requiring the sport psychologist for theFootball schools who wish to become qualified or elite, as they are currently defined. This year the Federation delete this rule, this step back requires an equally significant reaction from the sport psychologists engaged in youth football. The official statement indicates that the Football school to be called élite could, among ohers options, “develop a training project during the football season, in collaboration with one ” Sports Psychologist ” experienced and certified.”

The contribution of such experience must be identified in the implementation of projects supporting specific figures involved in the educational process of the child (staff, parents, etc.).”
The psychologist will be an optional choice of the Football school, it’s no more mandatory to have in the club staff the psychologist. The clinical psychologist organize, very often in the Football school, improbable meetings with parents, however, such activity has nothing to do with sport psychology. So what she does and what she offer the sport psychologist in a Football school to really become an élite tool?
Through my experience in youth football I can define some basic guidelines, characterizing a project of sport psychology in Football school: the adequacy of the method adapted to the age of young athletes, the social surrounding and the organizational environment; the use of specific psychological tools; the continuity of the times, the constant monitoring and validation; planning specific psychological objectives, also across the other areas (technical, tactical, motor skills), the design of practical interventions allowing the achievement of shared goals.
Here are a number of proposals that must be developed, organized and obviously adapted to the context:

  • Training of coaches
  • Observation on the pitch and data sharing
  • Meeting with parents with a previous needs analysis, they have to be scheduled and conducted through interactive teaching techniques
  • Integrated projects, on specific topics within the club and the territory
  • Professional lab with psychologists and coaches
  • Studies-research on particular soccer aspects

These are just some of the many practical suggestions that the sport psychologist may propose in a Football school.
Finally I would like to remind both psychologists and Football school collaborators that it’s not possible any collaboration without a fundamental activity: stay in the pitch. One day, after listening to my experience, a manager of Football school asked me amazed: but then the psychologist stay in the pitch?
Sports psychologist has to stay in the pitch and there is no sport professional that it does not touch the green rectangle and this is even more true when we talk about children and football.
The activities that can be performed are varied and can, if well organized, have a strong impact on the Football school performances. If you are a sport psychologists or a Football School professional, contact me if you want to learn more.

(by Daniela Sepio)

To walk or run15 minutes every day improve the children life

We do so few things to promote the movement amog the children, that news like this one become immediately virals and demonstrate how it could be easy to do much more with only the good will.

“As son as the children at one primary school in Stirling hear the words “daily mile”, they down their pencils and head out of the classroom to start running laps around the school field.

For three-and-a-half years, all pupils at St Ninians primary have walked or run a mile each day. They do so at random times during the day, apparently happily, and despite the rise in childhood obesity across the UK, none of the children at the school are overweight.

The daily mile has done so much to improve these children’s fitness, behaviour and concentration in lessons that scores of nursery and primary schools across Britain are following suit and getting pupils to get up from their desks and take 15 minutes to walk or run round the school or local park.”

(The Guardian)

Winter will start: keep children active indoors

Child care providers often dread those days when the weather is bad and the children can’t get outdoors to play. But children need to have active times every day to use up energy, learn new things, and be healthy. Luckily, active play can happen indoors as well as outdoors. With a little imagination and creativity, child care providers can come up with activities that use large muscles and burn energy, but can be done indoors. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Put on some music and have a dance party. Move back the furniture if you need to make more room to dance.Let children suggest their favorite songs.
  • Give children a scarf, ribbon or some paper streamers to wave in time to music. Encourage them to find as many different ways to move the scarf or ribbon as they can.
  • Encourage children to dress up as a favorite character from a book and act out the story
  • Plan a “work out” time to do simple exercises with children. Keep them age-appropriate. Exercises can be done to music, or you can borrow simple exercise tapes from the public library
  • Play circle games such as Simon Says, Follow the Leader, or Duck, Duck Goose to keep children active
  • Have children pretend to ice skate wearing socks on a smooth floor
  • Children love pretending to be animals by making their sounds and movements.
  • Set up an indoor basketball game with crumpled up newspaper balls thrown into a laundry basket or cardboard box
  • Pile up old blankets and pillows for soft indoor climbing fun

Active play is an essential part of young children’s lives. Effective child care programs give children ways to be active indoors as well as outside. With imagination and creativity, you can come up with other fun ideas for active play.

(Some ideas from eXtension.org)

Position statement on active outdoor play

A diverse, cross-sectorial group of partners, stakeholders and researchers, collaborated to develop an evidence-informed Position Statement on active outdoor play for children aged 3–12 years. The Position Statement was created in response to practitioner, academic, legal, insurance and public debate, dialogue and disagreement on the relative benefits and harms of active (including risky) outdoor play. The Position Statement development process was informed by two systematic reviews, a critical appraisal of the current literature and existing position statements, engagement of research experts (N = 9) and cross-sectorial individuals/organizations (N = 17), and an extensive stakeholder consultation process (N = 1908). More than 95% of the stakeholders consulted strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the Position Statement; 14/17 participating individuals/organizations endorsed it; and over 1000 additional individuals and organizations requested their name be listed as a supporter. The final Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play states: “Access to active play in nature and outdoors—with its risks— is essential for healthy child development. We recommend increasing children’s opportunities for self-directed play outdoors in all settings—at home, at school, in child care, the community and nature.” The full Position Statement provides context for the statement, evidence supporting it, and a series of recommendations to increase active outdoor play opportunities to promote healthy child development.

(byMark S. Tremblay e colleghi, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 201512(6), 6475-6505)