Autism Services of Saskatoon - Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

GoodLife Kids Foundation is supporting Autism Services of Saskatoon’s Fun In The Gym program. The ‘Fun In The Gym’ program provides an enriching environment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Active time is filled with opportunities for social skills development, taking turns, and developing body awareness, control and coordination. ‘Fun In The Gym’ offers 1:1 staff to client ratio and unstructured programming so that children with autism can make safe and independent choices about their participation. Activities include running, jumping on the springboard, trampoline or in the foam pit, swinging on ropes, and balancing on beams. Funds from GoodLife Kids Foundation will allow the program to grow, alleviating the list of children waiting to participate in this unique physical activity opportunity.

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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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