Students from Aspect South Coast School at Corrimal will be showing off their sporting skills on Thursday at the world’s biggest athletics carnival for students with autism.
The Aspect Athletics Carnival for Children with Autism has been running for the past six years, with 650 students from all over the state travelling to the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre at Homebush to take part.
Aspect South Coast principal Bruce Rowles said 95 students from the school and its satellite classes at Bellambi and Barrack Heights Public schools, Ss Peter and Paul Catholic School in Kiama and Para Meadows School were travelling to the event and would be decked out in white, their team colour.
For the past term they have been practicing both their athletic and social skills in preparation for the big day, including getting a few war cries under their belt.
As well as the usual games and activities, this year is the first the carnival will include traditional track and field events such as discus, high jump and long jump.
‘‘It’s not particularly competitive, but they do like to get those medals at the end,’’ Mr Rowles said.
Not only is the carnival a chance for students to show off their athletic ability and indulge in a little friendly rivalry with other schools, it also gives them the chance to learn how to interact during games.
‘‘It’s important from a lot of perspectives, but number one we’re teaching them how to participate in games, that social side as well,’’ Mr Rowles said.
‘‘All of what we do is about preparing the children to participate in a mainstream environment, so once they’ve experienced an athletics carnival it would be wonderful if they used those skills with something like Little Athletics.’’
Teachers, volunteers and students from the Australian College of Physical Education will also go along to cheer the kids on and provide extra support during the day.
‘‘The kids go all out and so do the families, it’s a really great atmosphere,’’ Mr Rowles said.