For 7-year-old Jacob, getting onto the ice is a lot more challenging than just lacing up his skates. Jacob has Autism, and a motor coordination disorder that make athletics especially challenging for him.
This fall, he’s participating in a very special Adaptive Skating Program sponsored by Franciscan Hospital for Children and funded by the Bruins Foundation. Each week for 10 weeks, Jacob and other children with special needs come together at the Simoni Skating rink to work on basic ice skating skills or to improve their existing skills. Children, and often their siblings, get to experience the fun of ice skating while working on important physical skills.
“Having a program specifically designed for children with disabilities is so important to my family.”
Both Jacob, and his older brother, Gabriel, who has Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, get to attend the sessions together. “It’s so convenient to have both boys involved in the same activity at the same time. Having a program specifically designed for children with disabilities is so important to my family,” said Jacob’s mother, Nasrin.
For Jacob, the program offers the continuity of the same therapists that he works with during his weekly Occupational Therapy session at the Hospital, and the novelty of a seasonal sport that children like Jacob and Gabriel would otherwise only have a limited opportunity to learn.
“Measuring the progress of a child with special needs is completely different than measuring the typical child. This is Jacob’s third year and he’s now able to walk independently on the ice without the adaptive bar he’s used for the last two years. For him, that’s great progress,” said Nasrin.
She’s thankful for the outstanding program staff, and hopeful that her boys will be able to continue participating in Adaptive Skating for years to come.
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