Occupational therapy program Sense Rugby is set to launch at Bathurst on Saturday, providing a modified version of rugby union to children with developmental delays and conditions.
Sense Rugby was founded in October 2015 by paediatric occupational therapist Carlien Parahi and her Australian rugby sevens Olympian husband Jesse Parahi.
On Saturday, the launch will take place at Charles Sturt University’s Diggings Oval.
Sense Rugby will launch in Bathurst alongside Bathurst Early Childhood Intervention Service and occupational therapist Georgia Andrews is expected to be running the session.
Jesse Parahi won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, while playing for the Australian rugby sevens team.
Mr Parahi, who is now an Olympian after participating at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said the program is for children who have autism, anxiety, sensory processing difficulties and ADHD, to name a few.
“These kids sometimes get excluded from a general rugby team. It’s really nice to give the kids an appropriate outlet for their physical needs,” he said.
“It originally started when Carlien had a few kids in her sessions, their physical demands were just too high for the session.
“She brought me into one of the sessions. We did a bit of tackle, a bit of wrestling with the kids and we found we were getting some really good results.”
Carlien said many of the students she observed needed heavy muscle work.
It’s really nice to give the kids an appropriate outlet for their physical needs.Sense Rugby co-founder Jesse Parahi
“It’s really difficult to get that input in an appropriate way,” she said.
Carlien has had significant experience in helping parents to understand more about and help children to overcome or improve sensory processing disorders and difficulties.
Both Carlien and Jesse are expected to join the launch on Saturday, from their base on the Central Coast.
The modified game of rugby drills players on the process sensory information, a focus on activities, working on their coordination, managing their emotions and having fun with other children.
Sessions run for one hour each and people are free to sign-up on the Sense Rugby website at www.senserugby.com.au/sign-up-for-free-launch-dates-here/ or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The launch will run from 10.30am to 1pm.
For more information, visit website or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SenseRugby/.