AYSA will offer a soccer program designed to serve kids ages 8-12 who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Thanks to significant input from parents, we have recognized that our traditional soccer leagues are not a good fit for many kids with ASD, but that, with some adjustment, a soccer based program could be a fun and positive experience for many kids on the Autism Spectrum.
With significant help from local parents and experts in the field, we have designed a program that will emphasize fun and soccer skill training in a flexible environment, minimize rules and competition, and provide opportunities for kids and parents to choose a level of interaction and skill development that works best for them.
This unique AYSA program will provide experiences that are conducive to children who fall within a wide range of the autism spectrum. All coaches and volunteers will receive training related to understanding the unique characteristics of participants on the autism spectrum, including special considerations that will need to be made in order for all participants to be successful.
This program will offer four Saturday morning sessions, between July 28 and September 1, outdoors on a Duluth area soccer field.
During each session, we will offer three skills stations, providing opportunities for kids to develop their skills in dribbling, passing and shooting. We will also offer small-sided game opportunities that players can choose to participate in during each session.
Our goal will be to work with kids of various skill levels. Therefore, we are planning to provide a 1:5 coach player ratio, with additional volunteers when appropriate.
Here is a description of basic functions that we believe will be important to parents to consider when deciding whether this program will be an appropriate fit for their child. We believe that in order to participate in this program, a child should to be able to do the following, at a minimum.
If an individual is able to participate safely in the program but requires individual assistance with communication, behavior support or with activities of daily living, parents will be asked to take a more active role in ensuring that their child is able to fully participate in program activities.