Fun for students with autism on the football field

ST. CHARLES, Chicago – Students at Lisle-Based Giant Steps, a therapeutic day school for children on the autism spectrum took to the football field last Wednesday for a day of fun filled football activities. This is the fourth annual football day for children on the autism spectrum.

150 students from the Lisle-based Giant Steps school were paired with 150 kids from the Tri-County Chargers Youth Football Association.  James O. Breen Park in St. Charles hosted the event.

Here all the students were able to enjoy a fun filled day of football drills, football talk and a water battle with sponges. The children that participated were given a learning experience not otherwise available to any of the students.

Joy Cooper, an autism training specialist from Giant Steps met with the players to explain what to expect when the  Giant Step team arrived. She told the youth that autism is a developmental disorder that makes it difficult for those on the autism spectrum to communicate and interact in a social environment.

Before the Giant Steps students arrived, Joy Cooper, an autism training specialist at the school, explained to the players what the disorder was and what to expect from the students. Cooper said

“Our best teachers are individuals with autism themselves, so they’ll teach us a lot about how best to talk to them, enjoy them, play with them.”

The original report by Stephanie K. Baer with video can be read on the Chicago Tribune here.