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Although, the World Cup has ended soccer fever in South Florida still exists.
Oscar Amuz, an extremely passionate soccer trainer born in Uruguay, is devoted to “United for Soccer Foundation,” also known as Autism Soccer. Amuz founded this organization last year and his goal is to teach the basics of soccer to about 120 children with autism, Down syndrome and other special needs.
“My children learn to share. They learn the day-to-day contact with other children. For a regular child, kicking a ball is simple, but I have children for whom kicking a ball is a miracle. To want to play soccer is in itself a miracle.”
The program is timed to follow a specific schedule, but at times Amuz says he must remain flexible and deal with the unexpected. If the program is taking a little longer than expected it’s no big deal because these classes are essential to strengthening the participants’ self-esteem, motor coordination, concentration and social interaction with other children.
Jacob Hamoui, a 6-year-old with autism, began the program in October and was definitely a life changing experience. Hamoui’s mother said “the first class Jacob, would not let go of my husband. In the second class he wanted to participate, but if my husband moved away, he would stop. In the third class, he went by himself but we had to remain in his visual field. The other day, when he went in through the door, he turned around and said, ‘Bye, Mama!’”
From making new friends to having fun, Amuz makes sure these children get the opportunity to play and participate, regardless of the disabilities or limitations they may have. “Yes, sometimes these children are difficult; they can kick you, claw you and bit you. But, in the end, they are children. And for the parents whose lives are stressful and need help, I tell them “it is important to me to give these children what they deserve and what they deserve is everything.”
If you live in the Long Island area and want your child with special needs to get involved with a program similar to Oscar’s, click here. At The Theresa Foundation of Performing Arts our primary goal is for the children to experience the joy of dance, drama, art, and music. There are many other benefits to the children who participate including improvement in coordination, overall fitness, focus, listening, balance, self-esteem, self-expression, rhythm, and musicality. Find out more or learn how to get involved.
By Daniel Mayper – Guest Blogger