An adapted sport and play program for young children with neurodiverse conditions recently began its trial run at the South Arm Community Centre.
The program caters to children around three to five years old with conditions such as autism, ADHD and ADD and aims to “increase accessibility to recreation and sports activities for preschool age,” said Kristy Ng, South Arm Community Centre spokesperson.
Staff in the program are trained through the Canucks Autism Network, and the program is designed to help children to learn more cues and feel more supported with more people aspects and a higher ratio of staff to children.
Ng told the Richmond News the program was inspired by a colleague’s experience struggling to find opportunities for their child with autism to socialize, enjoy active movement and learn fundamental skills through sport and play.
“So we wanted to bring this type of program to our facility through this (Canadian Parks and Recreation Association) grant opportunity,” she said.
The trial run, which includes two Saturday morning slots, began on May 6 and will run until Jun. 24. Each session is open to eight children.
Ng said the trial run has been “going really well” with a lot of interest from the community.
“It’s been really great for (the instructors) to see preschoolers learning new skills and try new things,” she said.
The community centre is planning to bring the program back every season until the end of 2023, when the program will be evaluated. The upcoming summer session will run from Jul. 8 to Aug. 26 with time slots from 10 to 10:45 a.m. and 11 to 11:45 a.m.
To register and to learn more about the program, email email@example.com.