In the lead up to the Rio Paralympics, pupils from a Cranleigh-based school for children with autism were invited to get in the sporting spirit by taking part in a Boccia taster session at Surrey Sports Park.
Jigsaw Trust operates a specialist day school and is committed to educating children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Based on Dunsfold Park, Jigsaw is one of only around 10 schools in the UK to use Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) as its teaching methodology.
It exists to improve the lives of children and families affected by autism through education, training and research.
Pupils from the school were invited by local insurance company and log term supporters of the charity, Allianz in Guildford, to join them and the Boccia High Performance Coach for the 2016 GB Olympics Team, Liz Wilks, for a session of the precision ball sport ahead of the games in August.
Jigsaw’s pupils were divided into two teams – Blues and Reds – and invited to throw leather balls as close as they could to the white target ball. Boccia can be played by people with different abilities, including those with limited motor skills.
As Jayne Lobley, Jigsaw’s educational visits coordinator, explains “Children with autism may find experience challenges with their motor skills and one aspect of today that has been particularly gratifying is to see our children using those skills repeatedly and being encouraged by their results to try again.
“The weighted balls eliminated the puzzling and unpredictable bounce you get from normal balls which our children can often find confusing when trying to understand and focus on aim, so it was a very valuable experience for them. Thank you to Liz Wilks and Allianz in Guildford for inviting our pupils to take part.”
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