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    Posted May 7, 2014 by
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    ACEing Autism brings tennis classes to Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh to help children on the autism spectrum.

    Aceing Autism is a non profit organisation that brings tennis recreational programs to children on the autism spectrum. Using a dedicated nationwide volunteer force Aceing Autism reaches over 500 children every week. www.aceingautism.com

    The new program, starting Saturday 24th May 2014 will be held on each and every Saturday from 0930-1130 with 2 programs. The first hour (0930-1020) is dedicated to under 10 year olds, and the second hour (1030-1130) is dedicated to 11- 20 year olds. The children don't need any equipment or any tennis experience, all will be provided for!

    The program will be held at Shady Side Academy- 423 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh, PA, 15238.

    The program director is Sara Longo, please contact Sara on +1 412 965 9301 should you wish to book a place for your child within the program. The cost for 9 weeks is $135, however a special arrangement for low income families can be made directly through Aceing Autism’s head office on +1 617 901 7153.

    “We are so proud to be opening up a program in Pittsburgh,” says Richard Spurling, the founder of Aceing Autism. “We are really encouraged by Sara, our new Pittsburgh program director, and we are looking forward to training her & her dedicated volunteers at the launch on Saturday 24th May.”

    These programs are fun, a place where families and children who are effected by autism can be together, socialise, exchange stories and support. Acing Autism also encourage children of a similar age to act as a peer role models to the children and also engages closely with the parents of the children within the program to map the child’s motor functions & social development.

    Sara Longo, Aceing Autism’s regional program director for Pittsburgh says, "I am thrilled to be opening a branch of ACEing Autism in my hometown of Pittsburgh. ACEing Autism's mission of making the sport of tennis available to children with autism is close to my heart, so I'm extremely excited to getting started!”

    Sara Longo is a Pittsburgh entrepreneur and lifelong tennis player who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Allegheny College. While pursuing her entrepreneurial interests with ACEing Autism and as the Co-founder of Share Closet, Sara has worked for several years as a Therapeutic Staff Support for children with Autism. Prior to that, Sara was a Research Assistant for the University of Pittsburgh. Because of her passion for human empowerment and youth development, Sara spends her free time volunteering at Entrepreneuring Youth, teaching tennis, and using her expertise to help her community in any way she can.

    Saturday 24th May 2014 at 0930 see’s the launch of the program at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh where Richard Spurling’s Aceing Autism crew will be on hand to create a training workshop for the volunteers in skills needed to working with autistic children on the court before the program begins at 1200.

    You are all invited to come and watch, volunteer and take part! Please like us at www.Facebook.com/AceingAutism or follow us on Twitter @aceingautism

    Notes to Editors:

    For further press information or pictures about Aceing Autism, please contact Alex Huggan, VP of Communications at alexhuggan@me.com or +1 310 600 5598.

    For further local information about the Aceing Autism Pittsburgh programs, please contact Sara Longo on +1 412 965 9301.

    About Autism
    Currently, 1 in 68 children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and there are approximately one million children in the US with this disorder.

    Why ACEing Autism
    There is a desperate need for recreational opportunities for children with autism and our organisation provides a recreational tennis program for this population.

    The Tennis Program
    ACEing Autism has 30 programs in 10 states and is currently serving about 500 children on a weekly basis.

    Our tennis program was created to meet the needs of children with autism who represent a variety of cognitive, social, and physical abilities. Each child will be paired with 1-2 volunteers based on his/her needs.

    The 50 minute session is structured as follows:

    Warm up, running and jumping exercises on the court
    Basic hand-eye coordination skills such as rolling the ball and balancing ball on the racket
    Volleys at the net
    Groundstrokes at the service line
    Obstacle course
    Group game and ball pickup

    Our program is flexible and can be modified based on each child’s skill level and favourite activities. If at any time a child needs to take a break he/she is allowed to do so. Parents can watch and are welcome to come onto the court during the session to assist their child if necessary.

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