Sense Rugby is a rugby based Occupational Therapy program run by occupational therapists and therapy assistants. It was founded by Jesse Parahi (Australian Rugby Sevens player) and Carlien Parahi (occupational therapist) who continue to be a driving force behind this programme. Sense Rugby uses modified rugby drills to help kids develop a range of skills. Each child will attend the programme for a variety of reasons including to:
– Improve their self regulation including controlling their impulses, regulating their arousal levels through the natural sensory input of rugby and maintaining self control.
– Work on their coordination through exploring their own body movements, imitating the movements of others, learning ball skills, using heightened sensory input to improve their own internal body map, seeing the benefits of practice and learning to fall and get back up.
– Work on their teamwork and social skills including: sharing an experience, turn taking, problem solving, being flexible and managing emotions.
– have fun. For some children this may be one of the only social groups or physical activities where they feel they have fun or have felt successful. One of the most encouraging stories was from a boy who had never enjoyed any sport or teams and he came along and after one session he went home and asked his dad if he could watch the rugby. His dad was thrilled that they could share this experience together and this boy has been a committed participant ever since and keen to come back each week.
The Sense Rugby programme in the Inner West run by Child Sense Occupational Therapy has been running now for around 12months. Based in Robson Park Haberfield in previous terms, this term Petersham Rugby Union Club has provided us with space and support at Camperdown Oval. We have felt so welcome by the staff at Petersham Rugby Union Club and want to express a big thankyou for this opportunity. By teaming up with the Shammies we now also have an opportunity for some children to trial rugby games and Petersham RUC have been very encouraging for this to occur. Our goal this term is to have a couple of children trial a game or session with the Shammies and possibly for some of their players to come and help our groups out as well if that becomes an option. We really want Sense Rugby to be part of the Petersham RU community long term and hopefully the relationship will grow stronger.
We look forward to our rugby players eventually buying some training jerseys and hopefully also attending some of the Petersham functions as the families start to integrate into the Club.
Sense Rugby and Child Sense OT would like to thank Petersham RU for their ongoing support and the generosity they have shown us.