Deb Dellapena

Editorial & Content Manager

Kids living with autism spectrum disorders can hit the courts for tennis lessons at The Shipley School.

Parents know kids need fresh air and exercise. But for moms and dads of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), there is an unmet need for recreational opportunities for their special child — as well as the approximately one million American children with this disorder.

The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr is doing something to make a healthy difference for these kids by launching a tennis clinic supported by tennis professionals from ACEing Autism, a nonprofit organization whose “mission is to connect children with autism through unique tennis programs,” according to a press release.

“Ballboys” and “ballgirls” 4 to 18 years of age can learn tennis skills that will help improve hand-eye-coordination, motor skills, and socialization from 10 to 11 am Saturday mornings at Shipley through June 11. For 50 minutes, one or two volunteers from the community and Shipley will be paired with a child for a warm-up, hand-eye coordination drills using a ball and racket, volleys at the net, ground strokes at the service line, and more. Students also will play a group game.

ACEing Autism provides rackets and other equipment. Players should wear sneakers, sporty clothes, and bring water.

The program is flexible and sessions adjust to your child’s skill level and interests, with breaks integrated on an as-needed basis. Mom and dad are welcome to watch and help their Venus Williams on-court if necessary. Since September of 2015, ACEing Autism has introduced 752 kids with ASD to tennis.

The program costs $90. You can get more information and register at ACEing Austism’s website.

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