MANCHESTER, NH—AbilityPLUS has received a grant from the Flutie Foundation to support its adaptive sports programs for people with autism. AbilityPLUS is among just 36 charitable organizations nationwide awarded a grant from the Flutie Foundation this year. The $10,000 grant will be used to expand existing programs geared specifically for people with autism. The Flutie Foundation awards grants on an annual basis to non-profit organizations and schools that provide services, education and advocacy for children with autism spectrum disorder.
“We’re tremendously pleased and grateful. This is a wonderful holiday gift,” said AbilityPLUS Chairman of the Board Mark Shepherd. “This generous grant will enable us to fund additional programs, and increase access to and awareness of the life changing programs AbilityPLUS provides to people with autism. We have a longstanding relationship with the Flutie Foundation, and are thrilled that the Foundation continues to recognize the value and importance of our programs.”
AbilityPLUS offers adaptive sports programs for people with any type of physical or developmental disability, but estimates that 80 percent of its participants are on the autism spectrum.
“It’s amazing how many of our students have autism, but many families of children with autism are unaware of the sports and recreational opportunities available to them,” noted AbilityPLUS, AbilityPLUS Executive Director of Programs. “We see firsthand the many positive effects our programs have on kids with autism, and this grant will help AbilityPLUS give more families the opportunity to participate in our programs.”
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders, widely referred to as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and characterized by communication, social and behavioral difficulties. Several studies have shown that participation in adaptive sports improves not only the physical condition of ASD participants, but also improves the motor function, behavior and social skills of children with autism. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. are on the autism spectrum.
Since its founding in 1997, AbilityPLUS has grown from serving a handful of people at a single ski area to providing thousands of lessons to hundreds of people year 'round at 3 primary resort locations at Mount Snow, Vermont, Attitash and Wildcat New Hampshire, and throughout New England through programs and events with collaborative adaptive partners. Over the past 15 years, AbilityPLUS has provided thousands of individuals with disabilities the opportunity to experience the thrill of participation and inclusion in sports and recreational activities that many of us take for granted. For more information about programs, volunteering and sponsorship opportunities visit www.abilityPLUS.org or call AbilityPLUS at 800-287-8415 x103.