Indoor baseball camp opens up sport to kids living with disabilities

Edmonton children and their families are looking back at a rewarding season of baseball as the first program of its kind wrapped up at Kinsmen Field House.

Community Park Little League partnered up with Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton to allow kids living with physical and cognitive disabilities to practice some baseball over the winter months.

“We’re just trying to knock down some barriers for children with disabilities,” said Tully Lutz, Community Park Little League president.

The program works through various drills and games to encourage children with disabilities at all levels to get active.

“Basically we run all kinds of different bucket drills out here and things that increase their hand-eye coordination – just increase their enjoyment,” said Lutz.

Family liaison at Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton, Scott Wilson says often when children are diagnosed with disabilities, there’s lots of focus on the clinical side of things but limited focus on experience and community participation.

The opportunity to create that community, however, was filled when Community Park Little League reached out to Children’s Autism Services Edmonton last summer in order to build the new program.

“They understand baseball. We understand autism. We understand how to support the needs of a child so that they can come and participate and have a good experience out on the field,” said Wilson.

Wilson says the new program has offered a sense of community for many of its young athletes.

“They get a sense of belonging with a team, participating in the community,” Said Wilson.

“Many times they’ve gone to baseball games and watched their older brother or sister play baseball, and now they actually get a chance to understand this is a place for them.”

The indoor baseball camp finished its first winter program Sunday.

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