Para Hockey festival has just been organized for children with mental retardation, Down syndrome and with autism by the Ho Chi Minh City Hockey Federation and the disabled community in Vietnam under sponsor of the Vietnam Olympic Committee.
Mother Trieu Le Xuan shouted and made a lot of noise cheering on her son with intellectual disability who has taken part in the sport. She recalled that her son is usually frightened by strangers and rarely talks to anyone; she has lately taken him to sport classes with other children who are also disabled ones. Her son’s condition has improved as he talks to his friends.
She added that she was surprised at seeing her son following his coach’s instruction of movement.
According to medical workers, children with mental retardation, Down syndrome and with autism may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what others say to them or even communicating nonverbally, such as through hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions and they tend to keep away from crowd.
According to UNICEF Vietnam, of 68 Vietnamese children, one suffers autism spectrum disorder.
Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Competition and Training Center Ly Dai Nghia said above-mentioned children have high demand for sports which will help them to increase motor development, physical strength and social interaction; however, there is not many stadium for special children to play.
Scientific studies have proved children with mentally retardation benefit from the exercise, energy release, and pure enjoyment of playing sports. The benefits of regular physical activity include better overall fitness, improved social skills, improved motor skills and more self-esteem.
Chairman of the HCMC Hockey Federation Nguyen Ha Truong Hai said that the festival is not only for children with special needs but also their parents. He revealed the festival has seen the participation of more than 30 families with their children.