SJU Engages Children and Adolescents with ASD in Sports

Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support to offer spring soccer program

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (March 8, 2011)—At the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s, athletes of all ability levels living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will get out on the field to play soccer starting this month. The Kinney Center’s new sports program is designed to provide opportunities for individuals with ASD to develop self-confidence, social skills, and a sense of belonging, all while learning how to play a featured sport.

Children with autism need opportunities for physical activity in the same way the neurotypical children do. It is important for their development, physically and psychologically,” said Michelle Rowe, Ph.D., executive director of the Kinney Center. “The Kinney Sports Program improves athletic skills and behaviors essential for good sportsmanship and socialization.”

Participants will get one-on-one support from Kinney Center SCHOLARS (Students Committed to Helping Others Learn about Autism Research and Support).  SCHOLARS are trained and supervised by a certified behavior analyst and a licensed psychologist.

The program will run every Saturday, March 19 through April 16, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The spring session is currently full. For details on future sports programs, contact the Kinney Center at 610-660-2170.

About: With its roots in the Jesuit mission of service and cura personalis, or care for the whole person, the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support seeks to address the needs of those who struggle day-to-day with autism, either as individuals or caregivers. The mission of the Kinney Center is to provide multi-disciplinary education and research opportunities for students, teachers, professionals and parents who seek to improve and extend opportunities, outcomes, quality of life and best practices in treatment for people with ASD. The Kinney Center offers services, resources and information; support and guidance; and tools for public and individual advocacy that contribute to improved autism awareness and care.

In addition to the sports program, the Kinney Center offers a summer camp, a Kids Night Out program, an after-school social skills program, an academic minor for SJU students, and a college-bound retreat for college-age students with ASD.

Media Contact

Kelly Welsh, Director of Communications for the College of Arts and Sciences, University Communications, 610-660-1385,

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