On Friday 22nd November, the CTC team gathered to visit the Post-School Day Care Centre built with CTC donations in collaboration with the Zhuhai Autism Society (ZAS). CTC has been working with ZAS since 2014 on a variety of projects that endeavour to provide autistic children in Zhuhai with a safe space where they can develop their skills through fun activities, while at the same time allowing the children’s families to maintain a regular working life once the children are done at school. Friday’s visit to the centre did not disappoint and allowed us to witness the countless benefits that this space and activities have on the children and their families.
On our arrival, we were greeted by Charles He Bingling, President of ZAS, who introduced us to the group of children while they were enjoying post-school tea and snacks. From the very first moment our team stepped into the room, all the children were extremely welcoming and hurried to introduce themselves, shake our hands, and give us a hug. Introductions were soon followed by the main activity of the afternoon: Teacher Song’s dance class! So, it had to be done, the team joined the children in learning the choreography. Needless to say, none of us are going to become professional dancers, but we all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to let go of our fear of embarrassment and have fun with the children.
ZAS is a non-profit organisation set up by the parents of autistic children under the auspices of the Zhuhai Civil Affairs Bureau. They provide specialised classrooms on both part-time and full-time basis to offer autistic children and young adults appropriate education and to help them gain the skills they need to live fulfilling lives on a personal and professional level. ZAS’s President He believes that the CTC’s donation to their charity has enabled the children to have quality education and the parents to earn a living by creating a safe space where the children can spend their time and learn new skills until they can be picked up by their parents.
Not only does ZAS create a space where autistic children can go to after school allowing their parents to work full time, but it also commits to offering them a wide range of classes where they can get active and improve several areas that they would normally be struggling with in their daily life. Some examples of this are limited attention span, repetitive or ritualistic behaviours, and the difficulty of carrying out simple instructions and troubles with fine motor control (Autism-help.org, 2019). Even though physical exercise hardly ever becomes a part of the routine of an autistic child, there are several studies that suggest that a few minutes of aerobic or vigorous exercise a day can positively impact these behaviours by stimulating the production of new brain cells responsible for the impulse of control, attention, and empathy (Dangerouslyfit.com.au, 2019). Therefore, physical exercise can reduce repetitive behaviours while boosting motor and social communication skills, on-task behaviour as well as academic response (Dangerouslyfit.com.au, 2019).
ZAS不仅创造了一个让自闭症儿童放学后可以上的地方，让他们的父母全职工作，而且还致力于为他们提供各种各样的课程，让他们能够活跃起来，改善他们日常生活中通常会遇到的几个问题。这方面的一些例子包括注意力广度有限、重复性或仪式性行为、执行简单指令的困难以及精细运动控制的困(Autism-help.org, 2019)。尽管体育锻炼几乎不可能成为自闭症儿童日常生活的一部分，但有几项研究表明，每天几分钟的有氧运动或剧烈运动可以刺激产生负责控制、注意力和移情冲动的新脑细胞，从而对这些行为产生积极影响 (Dangerouslyfit.com.au, 2019)。因此，体育锻炼可以减少重复性行为，同时提高运动和社交技能、任务行为以及学习反应 (Dangerouslyfit.com.au, 2019)。
At ZAS, we were able to witness the benefits of physical exercise throughout the afternoon: all the children were getting involved to learn the choreography, playing games and engaging in conversation with the CTC team. Overall, it was a fun and successful afternoon which has made us at CTC more aware of the importance of our efforts, and willing to carry on working to benefit the lives of a larger number of children in Zhuhai.
If you are interested in helping us raise money for this and other worthy causes, check out our social media accounts for more information on the upcoming Come Together Festival taking place on Saturday 7th December. Join us in enjoying music, drinks and fun activities while raising money to benefit more and more members of our community.
The CTC is also accepting corporate donations for this year’s 8th Annual Charity Music Festival, to be held in Zhuhai on Saturday December 7th. 100% of earnings are used to benefit the local community, and aid Children in need as none of CTC’s organisers takes any salary or admin fees. If you’re interested in donating or helping out in any way please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to watch the video of our visit to ZAS.
Autism-help.org. (2019). Autism, PDD-NOS & Asperger’s fact sheets | Introduction to Asperger syndrome and Autism, the most common disorders on the Autism Spectrum. [online] Available at: https://www.autism-help.org/introduction-asperger-autism.htm [Accessed 2 Dec. 2019].
Dangerouslyfit.com.au. (2019). The Benefits of Exercise for Children with Autism. [online] Available at: https://www.dangerouslyfit.com.au/exercise/exercise-and-autism/ [Accessed 2 Dec. 2019].