Autism-Friendly Rugby is a physical activity and personal development programme for children aged between 5 and 12 with a diagnosis of Autism. The programme aims to engage young people with Autism into the team sport of rugby. This is achieved by delivering simple games and drills that are planned around the participants needs. We also have specialist training equipment to ensure the participants are able to have fun in a safe and caring environment. All of our coaches have had specialist training in working with autistic children.
What makes these sessions Autism-Friendly?
This isn’t just rugby, it’s about creating the right environment for all children to flourish. We do this by:
- Story Boxes: available on loan ahead of a child’s first session, contain tactile objects that children can expect to encounter in an Autism-Friendly rugby session
- Visual Support
- “Rugby Ready” sensory warm-up: provides those with sensory processing difficulties (SPD) the opportunity to gain some ‘deep pressure’ at the start of the session
- Sensory tents
- Limited group sizes and multiple coaches per group
- SPD kit (e.g. sunglasses, ear defenders and baseball caps)
The sessions also provide respite for parents/carers, whilst enabling them to enjoy some refreshments and engage with other families with similar backgrounds. Parents/carers must remain on site throughout the session.
This project is part funded by BBC Children in Need. This video explains why the sessions are so important for Archie and his little sister Annabelle.