PORT WASHINGTON, NY, September 28, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Special Needs Soccer pilot program is off to a "phenomenal start" with fifteen Port Washington children involved. The pilot program is currently evaluating drills and activities that Port Washington resident Dan Brotman is developing with a select number of physical and occupational therapists for the national special needs soccer curriculum, which will be released this winter.
The concept behind the effort is to develop a comprehensive Special Needs Soccer curriculum for communities across the United States to use as a blueprint in order to launch their own programs. The free package, available in January 2013 as a download from SpecialNeedsSoccer.com, will have everything a youth organization would require to provide a complete special needs soccer program for the challenged children of their community.
"The program is off to a phenomenal start," reports Dan Brotman, founder of Special Needs Soccer and Port's special needs soccer program. "It's great to see what we've been developing on paper take flight on the field." Brotman is especially grateful to everyone who's contributed thus far. "Special thanks needs to go out to the volunteers who helped make the first session a huge success, Ann Marie Fitzpatrick, Tim McEnaney, Jared Sambursky, Elisabeth Kostallas, and Hugh and Rory Owens."
The kids involved in the pilot run the entire gamut of the special needs spectrum and that's exactly the way Special Needs Soccer wants it. The concern's informal motto, Participation Not Competition, reinforces the "soccer for all" mentality, which is too often absent from these types of efforts.
The parents of the participants also came away with a positive impression. Linda Haragsim, the mother of a 9 year-old girl with autism, recounted, "we were thrilled to see her engaged and smiling in all the activities. From learning to dribble the soccer ball across the field, to participating in the scrimmage, Lauren gained a lot more out of the program than I ever imagined."
Ann Marie Fitzpatrick added, "I loved watching the kids engaging with the volunteers and most importantly socializing with each other during the scrimmage. [My son] had never volunteered to work with kids before. He enjoyed helping out and one of the mother's told me her son loved playing soccer with him. It was a win-win for all involved."
Many other special needs soccer initiatives around the country are already benefitting from Port Washington's program. Special Needs Soccer has already assisted in helping to set up new programs in Georgia, New Jersey, Texas and California. "Even at this early stage of our trajectory, the data that we've acquired can be immensely helpful to organizers who are faced with startup challenges," Brotman noted. "Just the fact that we're already helping other individuals and organizations to set up their own programs, even before the curriculum package is nationally available, demonstrates 'proof of concept' and I expect the number of communities we assist to explode in 2013."
If you have a special needs child and are interested in participating in Port Washington's special needs soccer program this fall, please visit PortWashingtonSoccer.com. To learn more about the national special needs soccer effort, please visit SpecialNeedsSoccer.com.
Special Needs Soccer's fall season is currently underway and the national curriculum will be released this fall.
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