FIFTY-EIGHT Athletes WITH SEVERE DISABILITIES AND CEREBRAL PALSY PARTICIPATED
- International program accredited by Special Olympics International
- It gives the opportunity to participate in sports for people with severe and multiple disabilities
- Includes training physical education teachers on the program to ensure its sustainability
On Wednesday, October 12, 2022, fifty-eight Athletes with severe disabilities and cerebral palsy participated in the "MATP" Motor Activity Training Program Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) organized the event in cooperation with the UAE Special Olympics Foundation at the Khorfakhan Club for the Disabled, in the presence of a large number of parents and interested persons.
This "non-competitive" program, which sports teachers in SCHS, has been implementing for four years, during sports classes, aims to integrate students with disabilities into sports activities. It seeks to provide participants with the necessary skills and knowledge in order to provide Athletes who face health and physical challenges opportunities to exercise and participate in sports events and recreational activities that would improve their physical and mental activity.
Mr. Hazem Ahmed and Mr. Hisham Farouk, Physical Education Teachers at SCHS, confirmed that professionals designed “MATP” Motor Activity Training Program for athletes with disabilities who are unable to participate in formal sports competitions. Because they have limited skills or functional abilities, the motor activity training program helps to prepare athletes with sever and multiple disabilities to exercise and participate in sports events.
They added, “The principle of the "MATP" program can be summarized in providing training of motor activities that specialize in an activity that suits each (athlete) and his abilities. It deals with the mental or physical challenges he faces, depending on the situation”.
They explained that the most prominent feature of this program is that it provides the training of motor activities in a manner compatible with the official sports practiced in the Special Olympics. The special training programs are designed accordingly, so that the Athlete’s mastery of these training programs makes him, with time; acquire the basic skills to participate in official sports, within the Special Olympics.
Following the remarkable success of the previous tournament, the program this year witnessed a wider participation of centers specialized in severe disabilities at the state level. This gave greater confidence to Athletes and contributed to their acquisition of more experience.
Inclusion in daily life
SCHS attaches great importance to people with severe and multiple disabilities since early childhood. It seeks to integrate them into daily life through activities, trips, visits and other events. SCHS provides accessibility to all activities, believing that this is one of their rights. It offers them a full range of services such as Physical and Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Family Counseling and other services that suit each child and his/her needs. In addition to developing and implementing training plans throughout the year.
The partnership with the UAE Special Olympics Foundation to activate the “MATP” sports program approved by the International Special Olympics is an opportunity to give people with severe and multiple disabilities the appropriate space to practice sports in a specialized way that serves to develop their physical skills in particular and activate their minds. The program also works to provide specialized training for teachers for the purpose of spreading awareness and activating the program on a continuous and sustainable basis throughout the year.
Specialized Center for Severe Disabilities
In this regard, it is necessary to refer to SCHS's Center for Severe Disabilities. SCHS established the center in the 2011-2012 academic year, in response to the demands of parents. Moreover, it is part of SCHS efforts to provide the best services to the category of people with severe and multiple disabilities over the age of 16 years.
SCHS always emphasizes the importance of motor therapy provided to people with severe and multiple disabilities, through individual sessions, for students with challenges in motor functions. The goals are set in cooperation with a physiotherapist, explaining that services are provided (Indoor & outdoor activities ) to improve these skills. Among the most important of these skills are (walking, throwing the ball, jumping, and shooting).
SCHS also supports and rehabilitates people with severe and multiple disabilities, by providing comprehensive and extended services to them, from the early intervention stage in SCHS Early Intervention Center, until the youth stage. SCHS puts in its plans the establishment of a more modern and equipped center to serve students with severe and multiple disabilities. The ( team work ) puts in mind the core objectives of the rehabilitation process, which is to achieve the largest possible degree of participation, independence, integration and self-determination.
(At the end of the program, the participating Athlete’s were awarded with medals.)