Ambitious about Autism

Running a Sports Curriculum at TreeHouse School

The Sports curriculum provides pupils with a structured exercise regime which encourages age-appropriate activities, integrates a sports curriculum which mirrors mainstream schools, gives the pupils a forum in which they can expend their energy in a recreational setting, and helps them develop new skills.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1063184)

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    Categories

  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing

    Helping

  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)

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Situation

The Sports curriculum includes: (1) PE classes which comprise agility exercises such as gymnastics and yoga to improve coordination, concentration and muscle tone; (2) sports sessions where treadmills, exercise bikes and rowing machines build stamina and improve fitness levels; and (3) games such as cricket, football, tennis and basketball to encourage group activity and fun with exercise. In particular it: 1) Encourages healthy weight - particularly in their younger years, many children with autism are reliant on edible ‘reinforcers’, which parents and educators use to motivate the children by rewarding appropriate responses to prompts and good behaviour. The need for exercise is paramount to ensure they remain at a health weight. 2) Provides access to exercise - due to their disorder, children with autism often fear new environments and social situations. This reduces opportunities for day-to-day physical activity. 3) Offers an appropriate channel for energy - teaching children to utilise exercise as an appropriate channel for frustration and excessive energy can assist in reducing aggressive and challenging behaviours. 4) Provides constructive recreational activity - children and young people with autism can be taught to take reinforcement and sensory pleasure from exercise and select this constructive activity rather than inappropriate repetitive mannerisms. 5) Increases opportunities to address self-help skills - preparing for a PE lesson offers the opportunity for teachers to work with children on undressing and dressing, in an appropriate environment and with a purpose. 6) Assists with sleeping - it is common that children with autism require fewer hours of sleep which can be exhausting. Increasing the children’s physical activity enables them to be more physically satisfied during their time at school and return home ready for a more appropriate length of sleep. 7) Develops gross motor skills - encouraging awareness of coordination is an important method of teaching the children to be aware of their body and immediate space, which in turn assists children to learn appropriate physical activities in different environments. Outcomes: Outcome 1: Pupils participate in a group exercise programme which works on fitness levels, gross motor skills and provides opportunities to have fun! Outcome 2: Pupils develop recreation activities which are appropriate for their age, both to broaden their experiences. Outcome 3: Provides opportunities for pupils to integrate with their mainstream peers through inter-school games, and from 2009 our facilities will be available for use by local schools. Our funding requirement is for the cost of a sports coach, 50% of which is covered by Greenhouse Schools. We require the balance of £12,500.

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