By Lindsey Steinberg
City of Coral Springs
As soon as Coral Springs tennis instructor Dan Bobrow was given the opportunity to teach tennis to local students with autism, he couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.
A longtime tennis professional and coach, Bobrow once founded a program in another state teaching the sport he loves to individuals with Down Syndrome. So, when the nationally known “Love Serving Autism” program contacted the Coral Springs Tennis Center wanting to establish a program here, Bobrow was ready.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” Bobrow said. “I knew it was something I always wanted to come back to.”
Love Serving Autism is a South Florida-based nonprofit with programs nationwide that specialize in therapeutic tennis instruction for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. As part of the program, Bobrow has undergone specialized training to teach tennis to those in Coral Springs and surrounding communities with unique learning needs using a specialized visual guide and a gentle, encouraging teaching style.
Most Saturday mornings at the Cypress Tennis Courts, Bobrow meets with a group of mostly preteens and teenagers to conduct the lessons. They go through simple, no-pressure drills and games, like balancing the ball on the racket, a “high five” game, and lots of extra chances to try again. At the end of a six-week session, Bobrow almost always notices a stark difference in the students’ self-assuredness in their own abilities.
“The cool thing about it is that I’ve had some of the same kids since the beginning, and I’ve had parents come up to me in tears saying it’s the first time they’ve seen their kids smile,” Bobrow said. “They finally feel like they’re part of something.”
Bobrow feels that shedding light on programs like his during Autism Awareness Month will not only help the public better to understand the capabilities of those with unique learning needs but also will let individuals with Autism, and their caregivers, know that it’s good to get involved in something meaningful, as it can promote self-confidence and perhaps reveal new abilities.
“It gives them a chance to feel like they are a part of something bigger,” Bobrow said. “Being different doesn’t mean that someone has to sit out, but their differences are what make them great.”
For more information about the Coral Springs Tennis Center, visit CoralSprings.gov/Tennis.
More information about Love Serving Autism can be found at LoveServingAutism.org.
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