Sports provision available for neurodiverse children

Image above: On the Ball team activities

Chiswick families encouraged to join

A sporting programme tailored exclusively for neurodiverse children is looking for new members.

The initiative, ‘On the Ball’, is being delivered by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust in partnership with Action-attainment, a SW London Community Interest Company which aims to help young people with speech, language, communication and sensory needs to achieve and have active lives.

While ‘On the Ball’ takes place at Palewell Common in East Sheen, Mortlake, Chiswick families are eligible and organisers are actively recruiting families from the area. No such similar scheme exists in Chiswick, making ‘On the Ball’ the closest available to local families.

On the Ball will lead into ‘Fun in the Sun’, the summer version of the programme, as well as holiday activities in small peer groups learning skills for tennis, golf and water-sports. A number of introductory parent workshops are available, both in person and online, for those interested in the scheme.

The organisers told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Many families who join On the Ball become regular, weekly attenders of our football groups run in East Sheen, at Palewell Common and Richmond Park Academy. Families then explore other sports through our holiday programme Fun in the Sun.

“On the Ball can help with understanding: strategies to build concentration, communication / listening difficulties – with examples of language modelling, supporting children’s development in sport and school through parent/professional partnership, finding a peer group and support network for children and families’.

Images above: promotional imagery for On the Ball

‘Part of a community’, parents and children praise scheme

Parents and children who went to last year’s events have praised the scheme, with children describing it as a “kind”, “friendly” and “inclusive” environment.

One child said:

“At first I was scared. Now I want to go to On the Ball again. I’m going to score a goal next week.”

A parent said:

“My son has been coming to On the Ball for five years. He is now in mainstream sport at school, but still enjoys meeting his On the Ball friends at the weekend.  My husband has met other dads and our family feels part of a community, when we used to feel isolated”

Another said:

“I used to be frightened for my son and myself. Being part of On the Ball has developed my son’s confidence – and mine.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘On the Ball’ help for autistic children now available to children in the borough of Hounslow

See also: Things the football training manual never taught you… how to proceed when your centre forward disappears up a tree and won’t come down

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