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Montreal Families

Sports programs for kids with intellectual disabilities

For the past three years, Special Olympics Quebec has been improving the lives of those living with intellectual disabilities through its Active Start and FUNdamentals programs. The programs are open to all children with intellectual disabilities in Montreal under the age of 12, and are offered through the LaSalle chapter, the largest Special Olympics region in the province.

“In addition to learning sports skills, it’s also a really good way to socialize and realize that you can be an athlete despite having a disability,” says Jade Lawson, who helped organize the program. “Many of the participants’ siblings are involved in team and community sports, so it gives kids with disabilities a chance to share in those experiences.”

The Active  Start Program, geared towards children aged 2 to 5, introduces youngsters to the fundamentals of movement through specialized activities that help participants gain core physical and motor skills. Participants practice walking, running, balancing, jumping, and swimming to garner the necessary skills for daily physical activity.

FUNdamentals caters to those between the ages of 5 to 12 and expands on the skills learned in Active Start, but with a focus on more sport-specific skills such as throwing, catching, kicking, striking, coordination, and speed. Young athletes can try different activities from hockey to gymnastics, or can focus on a particular sport.

The program starts in October and runs until June, with hour-long classes offered every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School (click for map), with the exception of a short break during Christmas Holidays. The program costs $70 for the entire season.

During a special one-day event at the end of the year called the Youth Games Family Fun Day, participants get to show off their new skills through friendly competition. Siblings and parents are welcome to join in.

Official registration takes place Sept. 8 to 10, but late registration is possible by contacting the regional coordinator, Susan Pedecilli.

For more information, call 514-366-6965.

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