TODAY, Sunday, April 2, heralds the ninth annual World Autism Awareness Day. Marking the culmination of World Autism Awareness Week, Celtic FC Foundation proudly supports this internationally co-ordinated campaign to promote awareness and understanding of people with Autism.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder more commonly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder but also known as Autism Spectrum Condition. It is estimated that one in 100 children are on the Autism Spectrum and those with the condition can encounter problems with communication, reciprocal social interaction and a tendency towards restrictive, repetitive and stereotypical routines of behaviour.
Celtic FC Foundation’s award-winning Ability Counts project works directly with children and young people with Autism, using fun team-based games, soft play and football to foster an inclusive, engaging learning environment. Primarily focusing on physical activity and sport to develop social interaction, project delivery is proven to enhance communication, balance and co-ordination skills.
Importantly, we recognise that Autism affects the entire family unit, and resultantly, Ability Counts also acts as an open forum for parents to exchange coping mechanisms and stress management techniques.
As well as improving the health and wellbeing of parents and children, the project increases overall understanding of Autism, equipping families with practical knowledge to negotiate the challenges and complexities of living with the condition.
Click HERE to view a testimonial from Ability Counts parent Sarah – whose son Reuben has Autism and daughter Abaigeal has Aspergers Syndrome – on how the project has helped her family.
Recently, Celtic FC Foundation underlined our commitment to helping affected individuals through the groundbreaking Ability Counts 18+ strand.
Offering a pathway for young and mature adults (including those with Autism) to progress into employment, this fledgling strand of Ability Counts features specialist consultants from a variety of sectors including hospitality and leisure, emergency services, community development resources and beyond.
Celtic FC Foundation CEO, Tony Hamilton, said: “Once again, we are delighted to recognise World Autism Awareness Day and do all we can to raise the prominence and profile of an often misunderstood condition. I’m delighted that our supporters have backed us in our ongoing efforts to promote a contextual, informed understanding of Autism.
“Our Ability Counts project operates on a simple, successful premise of sport and team-based play, allowing children to progressively develop and socially flourish within a safe, accommodating learning environment. It exists to enrich the lives of participants living with Autism and we are on track to help many more children, young people and their families in the future.”
Ability Counts Autism is delivered at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Thursdays from 6 to 8pm. If you would like more information, please contact [email protected] or call 0141 551 4321