Swans celebrate Autism Awareness Week
The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects around 700,000 people in the UK, and hence the Swans Community Trust has come into contact with children and adults with autism at the Liberty Stadium and in the wider community.
To mark World Autism Awareness week, which runs from March 26 to April 2, we’re highlighting the Community Trust’s efforts to provide inclusivity for those with autism.
Establishing partnerships with organisations such as Powys Sports Development and ASD Info Wales, Community Trust staff have received ASD-specific and disability inclusion training.
Senior inclusion manager Richard Jones said: “I firmly believe that as a family and community orientated club, it is our duty to our fans and participants to be inclusive and have experienced and skilled personnel in place to deliver the best possible experience to everyone associated with the club.
“We have some excellent programmes for children with autism, as well as offering pan-disability activities that cater for children and adults with a range of disabilities.”
Cwm Wanderers AFC provide an opportunity for children to be completely at ease with other children that have ASD, whilst being situated in an environment with trained and experienced staff.
The Autism Football Academy with Cwm Wanderers is held every Wednesday night from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.
Following this, a youth club is run for children with ASD from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
At Pencoed Comprehensive School in Bridgend, physical literacy sessions are delivered by the Inclusion Project of the Community Trust.
These sessions are designed to support young disabled individuals’ transitions into community clubs, whilst aiming to develop and strengthen participants’ fundamental movement skills, including balance, speed, agility and co-ordination.
The purpose of doing this is to help children feel more confident when attending a sports club for the first time.
Physical literacy sessions run from 5pm-6pm and 6pm-7pm and are free.
The sessions are aimed at children aged between five and 10 years old.
They provide a great opportunity to socialise, as family members can also join in. This often appeals to current participants.
Although not solely held for those with ASD, the physical literacy sessions have proved to be beneficial for children with ASD.
At our recent Trust Celebration Event Leo Davies (pictured above with Andy King), who attends the physical literacy sessions, was named participant of the year after his response to the programme.
Despite facing daily challenges due to his autism, Leo has adapted extremely well to the sessions in Bridgend.
Leo has been turned away from many community clubs due to the nature of his autism, but he has finally found a programme that can cater for his needs and is thriving in this new, safe and inclusive environment.
In addition to programmes run by the Inclusion Project of the Community Trust, this year’s Premier League Enterprise Challenge team from Dwr-Y-Felin have highlighted the importance of inclusivity for those with ASD.
The PL Enterprise Challenge is designed to engage, inspire and unlock students’ potential whilst they get to grips with the basic principles of business, enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Schools were this year tasked by Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore with creating initiatives to encourage diversity during matchdays at their respective clubs.
Team Swansea City comprises of Dwr-Y-Felin pupils who are through to the final of the PL Enterprise Challenge, after pitching an idea called the ‘Swansea Autistic Supporters Trust’.
The team want to increase the number of autistic fans attending matches by introducing new facilities within the Liberty Stadium.
After receiving a donation of £1,500 from the Community Trust’s Inclusion project to help implement their ideas, the team held a pilot launch of a sensory room for those with ASD during the Swans’ FA Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday at the Liberty Stadium in February (pictured above).
The room included sensory tools and games to provide ASD supporters with an enjoyable matchday experience.
Pupils from Dwr-y-Felin will head to London to compete in the Premier League Enterprise Challenge final on April 23.
For more information on:
Cwm Wanderers AFC, contact Andrea Smith on email@example.com
Physical literacy sessions, contact Richard@scfccommunitytrust.co.uk
PL Enterprise, contact Graham@scfccommunitytrust.co.uk