Occupational therapist Alexander Lopez created a “Hole in One” program: golfing for children with autism! The town of Islip is in partnership with Lopez, teaching children with high functioning autism from the ages 6 to 11 how to golf. The kids have the opportunity to enjoy the sport, while simultaneously learning coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and social skills.
The 10-week program is held in the town’s golfing facilities (at no cost to the town’s taxpayers” and at Give It Your All Sports, located in Ronkonkoma. Other therapists from the area participate as volunteers, as well as students from Stony Brook University and Touro College. This wonderful opportunity costs $30 per 90-minute session, which helps Lopez pay for the facilities and a yoga instructor.
The parents of children partaking in this opportunity are thrilled with the idea, including Stephanie and Bill MacIntosh, whose son struggles “socially, playing with other kids. He’s doing great now. He has healthy outlets.”[i]
Lopez began this program for troubled teenagers, but was more than happy to expand it to children with high functioning autism. As he puts it,
“Sports after a certain grade level gets very complicated, very cliquish. These kids, they just need attention. They’re not getting the resources anymore and they become sedentary. This is designed to help them strengthen their bodies.”
The second session is now in place, and members of the community are hopeful it will continue.
[i] “Newsday” Islip offers golf to kids with autism. 03 Nov 2013. Web. < http://www.newsday.com/long-island/towns/islip-offers-golf-to-kids-with-autism-1.6369893?print=true>