Autism Cook Islands have participated in Rippa Rugby. Photo: Supplied/22061410
Autism Cook Islands (ACI) has participated in a Rippa Rugby session held at Ngatangiia Field.
The recent session was held in collaboration with the Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU) and is part of ACI’s play therapy programme, which is designed for preschool to primary-age children.
Around 10 members from ACI participated in the programme
which is running for eight weeks and is held on Thursday afternoons.
Lewis Tata, the Rugby Development Co-ordinator for the CIRU, and Craig Murray who is the Outreach Coordinator for ACI are running the sessions alongside Rugby Development Manager for the Cook Islands Rugby Union, Ben Koteka.
“I love seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and the numbers
growing every week,” Koteka said.
“Family is important and (we’re) just thankful for the opportunity
to work with our kids.”
During the day, the participants focused on practicing and
becoming more familiar with skills including running, ripping flags from the
belt of the ball carrier, and passing the ball.
An hour was spent on the field, not only playing rippa rugby
and practicing new skills but also learning how to manage themselves when faced
Rippa Rugby is a safe non-contact, easy-to-play game for both
boys and girls.
The programme is part of this month’s Autism events to
promote awareness, acceptance and inclusion of people living with autism here
in the Cook Islands.
Kat Jensen, Programme Manager for Autism Cook Islands, said she
was thankful to CIRU for allowing them this opportunity.
Jensen said: “Rippa is great for our kids as the children are
using their fine motor skills, learning teamwork and undertaking physical
activity, but best of all its fun and exciting.
“We have (also) invited the Down Syndrome Association to join