Teenagers living with Autism will learn how to play their favourite sports in a fun and social environment.
Teenagers living with Autism will learn how to play their favourite sports in a fun and social environment.

Stepping towards more inclusion with fun, fitness program

BUNDABERG teenagers living with Autism will learn how to play their favourite sports in a free program that aims to provide a fun and social way to keep active.

One of 57 recipients, STEPS Group was successful in receiving funding for the Stepping Into Bundaberg Sport (SIBS) program and plan to offer coaching sessions.

Managing director for STEPS Group Carmel Crouch said the activities would focus on fitness participation and social inclusion in a fun environment.

“We know that participation in physical activity and sport drops dramatically between the ages of 13-17 and the likelihood of this is greater with ASD and social isolation,” Ms Crouch said.

“SIBS will curb this by building good exercise habits and personal capacity through regular engagement in a variety of physical activities in a supportive environment.”

STEPS will provide coaching clinics during the school holidays for rugby league and AFL, as well as indoor netball, cricket and softball.

Qualified trainers with ASD experience will also run one-hour sessions each week and over the duration of eight school terms, with a maximum of 12 players per group.

Through these programs, participants will learn basic skills, rules and roles of team members.

Funded by the Federal Government, the $19 million initiative aims to encourage teenagers living with Autism to enjoy team sports and stay active.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said $164,970 has been awarded in funding to STEPS Group, as part of the Driving Social Inclusion Through Sport and Physical Activity program.

“STEPS Group was identified as serving an important role in bridging the divide and encouraging social inclusion across the Bundaberg region,” Mr Pitt said.

“The SIBS program will run weekly physical activities with two age groups – 12-15 and 15-18 years – supplemented by holiday coaching clinics in rugby league, AFL and indoor netball, softball and cricket to introduce participants to organised sporting activities.”

Due to COVID-19, start dates for the program are yet to be confirmed.

For more information, phone 07 5458 3000 or email enquiries@stepsgroup.com.aup



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