On Nov. 16, 2016, players, coaches and NHL Ambassadors of the American Special Hockey Association will come to Capitol Hill for an ice-breaking congressional briefing on the medical and behavioral outcomes of their therapeutic hockey programming.
As the world’s largest special hockey organization, ASHA has over 54 member programs in 45 US cities.
ASHA strives to give children and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities the chance to play ice hockey in an environment which is adapted to the level of ability which the athletes are able to participate. Special hockey exists for the enrichment of the athlete with a developmental disability.
In addition to physical hockey skills, the program emphasizes the development of desirable individual characteristics such as dependability, self-reliance, concentration, willingness to share, and personal accountability. The love for the game alone develops within each player, enhancing the characteristics that will help the player to be more successful both on and off the ice.
ASHA’s therapeutic style of programming offers players with disabilities innovative options for behavioral management.
Roughly one in 68 US Children is diagnosed with some form of ASD. It is estimated that one out of 42 boys and one in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
Additionally, it is estimated that over 3 million individuals in the United States have autism. These staggering numbers are indicative of a crisis we will have to face as these children become adults.
As children with ASD grow older, many approach adulthood without continued access to the kinds of special needs services they routinely received as children.
This needs to change, America. And the American Special Hockey Association is taking the lead.