The College of Public Health partnered with the Philadelphia 76ers to host a Bounce Out the Stigma autism awareness clinic on Saturday, March 18. The three-hour clinic brought 30 kids on the autism spectrum to Temple’s Pearson Hall for drills in passing, shooting, and dribbling. About 20 graduate students from the Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language-Hearing programs assisted throughout the afternoon’s activities.
The event tip-off featured basketball tricks and an inspirational message by Mike Simmel (pictured below right), Bounce Out the Stigma’s cofounder and director, who persevered through childhood epilepsy to become a standout collegiate and professional athlete and now promotes inclusion in sports. Later in the afternoon, Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown spoke to the children and assisted with a shooting contest.
“We are very excited to help bring this basketball clinic to families in our community,” said Laura A. Siminoff, Dean of Temple’s College of Public Health. “We are proud to host an event that puts academic research and expertise into practice to enhance the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities.”
“Providing community opportunities for children with cognitive disabilities and sensory challenges has been shown to contribute to numerous improved health outcomes,” said Associate Professor Roger Ideishi, director of the Occupational Therapy program and a co-organizer of the event. “And all children deserve opportunities to participate in activities they enjoy and to be included in the broader culture.”
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Top photo: Physical Therapy student Stephanie La dribbles the ball with a clinic participant.