Special Olympics Pakistan organized its first Motor Activity Training Program (MATP) in Lahore last week at the Raising Sun Institute for Special Children, an adapted training facility for people with severe disabilities.
Dr. Eleni Rossides, Special Olympics’ expert and coordinator for the MATP program, led the event, which was attended by 55 Special Olympics athletes from Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore. In addition, 55 medical professionals, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, physical therapists and Special Olympics sports coaches also attended and supported the training.
Dr. Rossides introduced participants to the benefits and objectives of MATP and also demonstrated techniques used by medical professionals in the program. The second day of the event featured a “Challenge Day” in which athletes participated in activity stations focused on warm-up mobility, dexterity, striking, and kicking. Athletes and medical staff also had a chance to participate in aquatics training, followed by a presentation of certificates to exceptional trainers and coaches.
The event provided invaluable training for medical personnel and also raised awareness among the medical community of the importance of this work. As Shaheda Hyder, Coordinator of MATP for Special Olympics Pakistan, explains, the event helped to “dispel negativity and to raise the profile of the movement. What we have learned we will share with others who have not attended this seminar.”