Sharks players Braydon Trindall and Jackson Ferris were joined by Club mascot Reefy at the Aspect South East Sydney School in Kirrawee recently, with the trio bringing plenty of smiles to the faces of the young students during their visit.
A school which educates children on the autism spectrum, the purpose of the Aspect visit was to hand out newly developed ‘social stories’ books for children with autism or other additional needs.
The books aim to familiarise children with the process of playing sports outside, in this case tee ball, and with the kids preparing to take up tee ball later in the week, the books were a great help to get their head in the game and ensure maximum participation and enjoyment for all.
Social stories are a therapy-based method of improving understanding of concepts, skills and situations. Backed by researchers, they are proven to aide in explaining social situations and helping children on the autism spectrum learn socially appropriate behaviour.
The ‘Let’s Play Tee-Ball’ books were developed by Jason and Sarah Stanton, the founders of Skillz4Me, a weekly activity-based program for children with additional needs that is supported by Sharks Have Heart.
In creating the book, the Stanton’s used language and techniques they have found successful for children aged 3-12 during the Skillz4Me program. The authors have also deployed the ‘social stories’ method for their books on basketball and catch, bringing hours of sports-filled fun to local kids.
Trindall and Ferris handed out Sharks merchandise and along with Reefy posed for photos with the 20 students, with the pair also chatting about the fun to be had playing team sports and of course the importance of celebrating with a high five after a tee-ball home run.
This visit coincides with the Sharks Have Heart commitment to the pillar of ‘Inclusivity and Diversity’, which is also supported by many other programs and initiatives.