Áirc Midlands Penguin Club runs bi-weekly providing sporting activities for children with special needs.
The past few months we have been working on our latest project - movement through play. The focus is on fine and gross motor skills in a playful environment. We encourage activities that are recommended by occupational therapists as well as focusing on hand eye coordination. We practice throwing, catching, crawling, balancing and allow the kids to decide which activities they want to partake in, in an open play environment.
In April, we launched our new and exciting activity - the Áirc Midlands Penguin Club.
The focus of the club is to open up the world of sport and physical activity to children with additional needs. In true Áirc fashion we wanted to make sure no child was left on the side-line. After talking with parents, it became clear that there were certain areas that needed extra attention, for example, there tends to be a trend of focusing on activities needing a certain level of physical or cognitive ability. Sadly, this can often mean that children with a severe, to profound, diagnosis are left out. We want to work to bridge that gap. Our aim is to roll out a new activity every few weeks so that there will be something that everyone enjoys.
We started last month with our introduction to soccer. We had a lot of participants and have had positive feedback from parents who felt that individual attention was given to each child.
“Simon loves attending the Penguin Club. Being 14, he's at an age where it's hard to get him involved in sports. He has never shown any interest in soccer until starting it with the club. He now kicks the ball around the garden with his sister which is a joy to see. It's great that siblings are encouraged to come along too and have some fun. Looking forward to see what the club has in store next.”
“Ruairí is 11 years old and has ASD. He is very limited verbally and his concentration span is also limited. Being part of the Penguin Club has given him a social space where he is accepted for who he is while being constantly encouraged to stay on task and participate. He is surrounded by his peers on a Saturday morning like any other neurotypical young boy playing soccer. It has warmed my heart as his mam to be able to say Ru is going to his soccer club, something I thought I'd never say! Both of us leave the Penguin Club with smiles on our faces.”
We are currently working hard on our next project. We had a fantastic 8 weeks with our introduction to soccer and hope to build on everything we learned. We are always open to suggestions and ideas and they are more than welcome any time.