Inner City Activities Program Focused on Kids with Autism

Updated: 02/06/2014 7:45 PM
Created: 02/06/2014 5:22 PM
By: Todd Wilson

Getting some kids with autism to socialize can be tough, but one group has found a way to get those kids to open up and be more physically active.

Paul Vang of Inner City Tennis is familiar with the organization's program called Kidspeed, which is typically designed for all children aged 3 through 8.

But Inner City Tennis has taken Kidspeed a step further and developed partnerships with three schools to tailor the program to kids with autism.

"We try to switch gears as fast as the kids do. Bring in as much energy as they do," Vang said.

Kidspeed consists of seven different stations, with creative names, and the kids move from station to station at intervals of seven minutes.

"We do some stuff with building their hand eye coordination and with their balancing," he said.

All of these activities are designed to help the children with their difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

Lake Nokomis Community School, Hale School and Pillsbury Elementary are the participating schools.

Anita Hruby is a teacher at Nokomis. She said a number of kids in her class are more attentive because of the program. 

"It's rewarding because you can see them make gains and they're making progress constantly," she said.

The improvements are not just seen in the classroom, according to Mother Miranda Miest. She said her daughter Julien is now open to group activities.

"I'm a hot scotch queen when I do fancy feet," Miest said.

Vang said Kidspeed is all about getting kids with autism involved.

"I see confidence coming out of the kids. They come in here and leave ready to take on the world," he said.  


Students participate at Inner City Tennis.
Photo: KSTP/File

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