Autism, Sport, Inclusion: A Journey Towards Equality and Empowerment

”Autism, sport, inclusion”, the presentation of the book in Civita Castellana

Fabio La Malfa: ”The common thread is the right to sporting activity for everyone”

25/06/2024 – 07:58
at Elsa Berardi

CIVITA CASTELLANA – “Autism, sport, inclusion”: a publication that is a story and a contribution felt right from the title. There autistic personoften portrayed as a victim of a difficult condition, is instead equipped with specificity and resources capable of bringing benefits to the surrounding social environment and cement progress extraordinary.

A growth that takes place every day, to be seen with a view to freeing oneself from prejudice, is that which young people, children and adults with disabilities cope with constant efforts and faced with visible obstacles, but never able to extinguish their individual’s stronghold.

Participating in the book presentation event were figures who, in various capacities, are committed every day to fight against stereotypes and widespread discrimination. The initiative took place in Civita Castellana, in the council room of the town hall.

The management of the interventions was entrusted to Danilo Corazzaworking as a support teacher, who urged us to dedicate a initial applause for Maurizio Verduchirecently passed away: it was the director of the Ti social consortium. Neither. Re. (acronym for Everyone together, no one is left out), excellently represented by doctor Rosanna De Leonardis.

“People tell it, coaches tell it, families tell it – said Corazza, referring to the practice of sport as a universal therapy – which have given a contribution to tackling a not insignificant problem, which is that of autism. This topic involved me as a teacher, we address it frequently. As Susanna Tamaro writes, until not too long ago autism was not evaluated, not considered”. A retrospection which, with the tools currently in our possession, seems almost dystopian.

Not recognizing and treating autism could result, according to Corazza, inschool dropout and a social drift. “There have been some ideas lately on how to deal with the difficulties educationally today – he continued – in a school that is no longer regimented like that of thirty or forty years ago, but is a much happier, much noisier school. However, that doesn’t mean it’s good anyway for some specificities and characteristics of the students”.

In Fabio La Malfa, author and editor of the book, there is more than one man interested in inclusion: his words, which followed those of Corazza, suggest that sport is the veneer of humanity that overlies relationships. Also an interpersonal relationshipoften a crucial stimulus in the educational paths for those suffering from forms of autism, can unfold into a healthy competitive spirit that shows personal resistance as the only rivals.

La Malfa’s writing acts as a link to multifaceted biographical testimonies, arriving at coin a completely heterogeneous and innovative editorial project. His tenacity as a judo instructor accompanies him in the creation of groups, especially if composed of individuals with an experience that is not easy to process. His triad of values ​​is simple and effective: it consists of research, training and action. It is precisely the third element that mitigates the interchange between the first two if necessary, making them functional in fortifying the athletes.

The best lesson, however, is the one that Malfa has forfeited from the meetings held. The resourcefulness of Simone, a student with Down syndrome who became a judo master, was for example a catalyst for the writer’s creativity, which led him to a passionate publication in the past. Raised in the Camilluccia neighborhood of Rome, the author he has always related to disabled children who spent their time in a center near him.

“The half of my friends had a physical or cognitive disability – stated the judo instructor – and this is where my school’s approach comes from. For me diversity was normal, so when I grew up I didn’t have any difficulty welcome all the people who showed up and knocked on our door”. A declaration of intellectual honesty, the same one that combats uniformity and protects true union. La Malfa also underlined the drama of the families of people with disabilities who are frequently denied the right to sport. What should be underlined is the distinction in intellectual functioning between those who live with the neurodiversity and who he is instead neurotipico.

They also intervened Alessandro Bascettaresponsible for the promotion and participation of the Italian Rugby Federation, the rugby coaches Davide Cavalieri and Alessandro Longo with Maurizio Piuntithe president of the Red and Blue Tigers Antonio Angelettithe vice president Antonio Luisithe captain of the Lions Alto Lazio Maurizio Santucci and Rosanna De Leonardis, financial manager of the Ti consortium. Neither. Re. The initiative was sponsored by Antonio Here with her Tm2a company specializing in asbestos abatement, and from condominium management Sace in Sergio Annesi.

Useful for understanding the perspective of integration between civic rugby and Roman judo it is precisely the key theme of the respect for the opponent, of completing other people’s actions and making them your own, as if you were continuing a journey. The spectacle of sport is also in its overflow of references that appear similar in the comparison between disciplines.

The event, which was also attended by the education councilor Simonetta Coletta, concluded with a concise and encouraging speech by mayor Luca Giampieri.

We have placed some at Fabio La Malfa reflection questions.

R: La Malfa, your book has a composite structure. How does it work? Are these biographical sections interspersed with contributions of another nature?

It is a collection of stories in which teachers, children and families talk about their experience in various sports, therefore the the common thread is the right to sport for everyone. He goes from rugby, to judo, to artistic gymnastics and karate.

R: There is a lot of talk in our present about willpower to achieve goals. A neurotypical person in emotional and relational functioning often has difficulty freeing themselves from the thoughts of others, while we tend to think that a person with autism tends to be more imperturbable. Is this different proactivity a value to be exalted?

I am of the opinion that it always depends from person to person, without generalising. The thing that comes out of the book is that this union of the integrated groups generates one exchange of energy and growth for all, both for autistic people and for all those who are in contact with them and who grow together. Looking at the limits of those kids, they also face their own.

R: Your book also saw the collaboration of Malagò and Pancalli (the preface was edited by Giovanni Malagò, president of CONI, while the introduction is by Luca Pancalli, head of the Italian Paralympic Committee, ed.). Is this proof that a love of social inclusion can connect even with the highest levels of an industry?

We are happy that they wanted to testify and make a preface to this book, because we see that the attention of institutions towards inclusion and disability is changing Truly.

R: With your help and contribution and with the tenacity of athletes with disabilities, can a better future be seen?

I’m an optimist in general: I think this was a seed plantedas written in the subtitle of the book, to build a better future.

We are waves of the same sea, although we know how to wrap the sand differently: wetting it to leave a mark makes us free and at the same time proud to mix togetheralways maintaining the differences that distinguish us.

2024-06-25 06:01:39
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