Play Skills class teaches disabled kids basics for building athletic ability

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Inside a Center Grove-area office, a group of young children lined up to take their shot.

They were playing kickball for the first time. All the players had a disability, such as autism or developmental delays.

Each time one kicked the ball, it set off a flurry of activity as they ran as fast as they could. The other children and adults in the room cheered and clapped in encouragement. Sometimes the kids went the wrong way around the bases, but the adults supervising gently pointed them toward first base.

As a kind of primer for athletic competition, the Special Olympics of Johnson County has revived its Play Skills program after a nine-month hiatus. The aim is to teach young children with special needs the value of sports and how to interact with others. They work on hand-eye coordination and physical fitness, in addition to how to work well with other children and teamwork.

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