Autism: Water instruction for autistic kids in Florida

Like many autistic children, Ethan John loves the water — and that’s both a good and bad thing.If there’s water around, the 7-year-old will head right to it, even if there’s nobody watching him.

“Everything else is so chaotic for him, but being in a pool or the ocean relaxes him,” says his mother, Koren McKenzie-John, of Tamarac. “We can’t take our eyes off of him for a second.

“Because of children like Ethan, water safety instruction is crucial in South Florida. And, in fact, experts say South Florida offers the most-advanced programs to teach autistic children how to swim. Instructors here must go through an extra layer of certification to work with special-needs children. And kids are matched with qualified instructors through Broward and Palm Beach county water-safety agencies.

“It’s a great model, the best in the country,” says Jack Scott, executive director of the Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. “Florida is trying to teach them water safety rather than have instructors who just throw up their hands and say, ‘They can’t do it.’ ”

via Autism: Water instruction for autistic kids – South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

Colgate University women’s hockey plays for autism awareness

The Colgate women’s hockey team has created an autism project in support of Kati Williams, a local teenager from Norwich, N.Y., who has been an avid fan of the women’s hockey program for several years and now serves at the team’s manager. Kati has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

“When I first started looking into what we could do to raise awareness for autism I was floored at some of the facts,” stated head coach Scott Wiley. “It was hard for me to think about autism affecting so many people. A new case is diagnosed almost every 15 minutes. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. in which there is no cure or medical detection. It is our goal to make as many people aware as possible and have a positive impact on those families affected by autism.”

The project will kick off with Light Up Starr Rink Blue for the Rensselaer game on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. that will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports. For that game the team will be wearing special edition puzzle piece jerseys, which will be auctioned online after the game and is looking to have at least 1000 fans attend the game. Free t-shirts, provided by Price Chopper will be given to the first 250 fans.

The team has also created online puzzle pieces through Autism Speaks, which are digital puzzles to send to family, friends and supporters of Colgate Women’s Hockey so we can help put the pieces together and raise money for Autism research.

via Colgate University Athletics – Women’s Hockey Creates Autism Awareness Project.

Hockey for kids with autism, Down syndrome

Hockey is big in New England – from the Boston Bruins to youth hockey teams. Boys and girls with autism, Down syndrome and  developmental disabilities get their time on the ice, too.

This news video is about a team in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, part of the Pawtucket Pirates Youth Hockey Association.

The Boston Bear Cubs will host the Special Hockey International 2011 tournament in Marlboro, Massachusetts, April 28-30.

Buddy Up Tennis for Down syndrome

Dozens of children and young adults with Down syndrome participate in an Ohio tennis program just for them — Buddy Up Tennis. The program pairs each young athlete with a volunteer buddy. The athletes play tennis for an hour and work on fitness for a half-hour each week. The program, which began at Columbus’ Wickertree Tennis and Fitness recently expanded to Columbus and The Club at Harper’s Point.

Organizers would like to see Buddy Up Tennis go national. Sounds like a good idea!

YouTube – Buddy Up Tennis for Down Syndrome – NBC 4 News.

World level cup stacker with autism wows crowd in Wisconsin

Wow! Follow the link to watch 13-year-old Jesse’s hands fly as he stacks cups for a crowd in Wisconsin. Sport-stacking has really taken off, as this Wall Street Journal story, which focuses on Steven Purugganan, 13, the three-time world champion, reports.

People at the 2nd Annual Transition Conference in Eau Claire got a special treat Thursday when they were able to watch local teen with a unique talent.

Jesse Horn, 13, is a world level sport stacker who is autistic. He is from Buffalo City here in Wisconsin and was diagnosed with autism when he was 3. He has been competing in sport stacking since March and already has several record times. He says he wants to increase awareness of the sport by competing.

via World level cup stacker in Eau Claire.

Alley-Oop for Autism recruits Illinois basketball team

We love when university athletes and teen-age volunteers make time to share their passion for sports with autistic children. Our bet is that Coach Bruce Weber,  his Fighting Illini, and the other volunteers got as much out of this Alley-Oop for Autism basketball clinic as the younger kids! Follow the link to the photos.

The University of Illinois championship basketball team partnered with the Urbana-Champaign campus’ Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life and the Stuart I. Raskas Friendship Circle of Illinois, a Chabad-Lubavitch program that pairs teenage volunteers with children with special needs, for the annual “Alley-oop for Autism” day of fun at the arena.

via Annual Alley-oop for Autism Enlists Illinois Basketball Team – Photos.

Riding the Wave of Autism

Riding the Wave of Autism, the short film about a surf clinic for autistic children in Florida, will be shown on the opening night of the 25th annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, with Ed Burn’s new film, “Nice Guy Johnny.”

“Riding the Wave of Autism is so well done – so moving and inspiring…it made my day,” festival director Greg Von Hausch said.

Watch the film below, it’ll make your day, too!

The surfing clinic in Jacksonville will be Oct. 23 this year. Check out Surfers for Autism’s Facebook page.

via YouTube – Riding the Wave of Autism.

High school football team gives player with autism a touchdown

Menomonie, Wisconsin, high school senior Sam Kolden has been a member of the Indians football team since the 8th grade.

He also has autism. So when Menomonie’s coach asked Superior to let Kolden catch a pass in a game that the Spartans were trailing 46-14, the answer was clear.

“There was no indecision whatsoever,” Superior head coach Bob DeMeyer said. “The guys in the huddle with me just chimed in and said, ‘Let’s do it, Coach.’”

via High School Football Team Gives Opponent With Autism A Thrilling Touchdown | NBC 4i.

Autism-Summer: Ohio Buckeyes teach children with autism football skills | NBC 4i

GROVE CITY, Ohio — Though most football camps are already over, there was just one more in Grove City for a very unique group of young athletes.

High School players as well as Buckeyes past and present shared the football experience with children with Autism.

The young players got to suit up in pads and helmets. They were eager to learn the basics of football including ball carry, how to be a quarterback, running back and defensive stations.

The children got to learn from all star coaches from the NFL and former Buckeye players.

via All-Star Coaches Teach Children With Autism Football Skills | NBC 4i.

Clownfish Swim Club: A team for kids with autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities

Nine-year-old Abby Bauleke found what she was looking for in a most improbable spot. She had tagged along, following her older brother and sister to their basketball, football and soccer games — waiting for her time to come. Then leukemia and a paralyzing infection threatened to put a damper on this bundle of energy and enthusiasm, who lives in Savage.

On a recent afternoon, Abby slipped effortlessly out of her wheelchair and into an indoor swimming pool tucked into a nondescript industrial maze of warehouses in Eden Prairie.

“I feel free when I’m swimming,” Abby said. “And my teammates are great.”

As she pulled herself through the water, lap after lap, Abby was surrounded by other children swimming, splashing, kickboarding and laughing. The Clownfish Swim Club was at it again, a unique team comprising more than two dozen kids with autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities that all melt away once they break the water’s surface.

via Pooling their resources | StarTribune.com.