NPO TRACOS : What we do
Children and adults at TRACOS Soccer School and FC TRACOS have developmental disabilities/difficulties. Developmental disabilities, also known as learning difficulties and learning disabilities, are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavioral areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.
Problems Children with Developmental Disabilities Face
Children with developmental disabilities want to move their bodies just like other children do, their parents want to give them physical activity opportunities, but there are many barriers for them.
One of problems children with developmental disabilities have is that they are all too often denied participation in sports, because they can have difficulty following the rules of organized sports, or with the physicality of some gym activities. As a result, these children often get less physical activity than typically developing children。
Since team sports can be competitive, they require athletic ability, following direction, paying attention and communication skills. These requirements deprive children with developmental disabilities of opportunities to join sporting activities and play with other children. Being often excluded or rejected, they feel a sense of shame, isolation, low self-esteem, anger, fear and anxiety.
Their parents feel the same way too. In addition, parents of children with developmental disabilities feel bad because their children cause ‘trouble’ when they play sports or play in a playground with other unimpaired children. Then, when they want to go to sport events for children with disabilities, many other people look coldly at them on their way there. When you see a boy talking excessively, screaming and jumping around in the train, how many people would think that it is because of developmental disabilities? When the child looks no different to children without developmental disabilities, many might think it’s because of bad parenting. It is reported that one of major causes of stress that parents of children with developmental disabilities feel is social attitudes towards them and lack of understanding for the problems they and their families experience.
Problems They May Face in The Future
People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are diagnosed with anxiety and depression more often than others. Also, it is reported that people with ADHD may be more likely than the general population to develop alcohol and substance abuse or addiction problems when they get older.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has a wide range. Some people with an ASD live on their own, go to school, and hold a job. Nobody, even himself/herself, might know that s/he has a condition. They may have difficulty in performing basic everyday living tasks. They may also have difficulty with making friends and maintaining relationships.
People growing up with a Learning Difficulty (LD) often feel a sense of shame because these individuals are often labeled as mentally retarded, incompetent and lazy. Internalized negative labels of stupidity and incompetence usually result in a poor self concept and lack of confidence.
Parents of children with developmental disabilities worry most about what would happen to their children when they are adults. Long-lasting stress experienced by parents of children with developmental disabilities has profound consequences for their health, well-being, interactions with the child and family life.
Developmental disorders can’t be prevented or cured. But spotting it early, plus having a good treatment and education plan, can help a child or adult with DD manage their symptom. Anxiety and stress can be reduced by sharing it. We can eliminate the barriers they face by promoting awareness-raising and supporting them.
What We Do
Many parents of children with developmental disabilities/difficulties say they find it difficult to access mainstream play groups and local play opportunities at leisure centers and playgrounds. There are many barriers, but we can lower these barriers if we approach them.
We hold pracitce session/s every evening from Tuesday through Friday and Saturday morning or afternoon, and students can join any sessions. Practice sessions are not only for children but also for their parents. Parents share information each other and develop mutual feelings of fellowship before and after a practice session.
Also, we send experienced and professional coaches to special-needs schools and events to offer a soccer class so that children with developmental disabilities who give up joining sports activities nearby, or can’t come to our schools because of distance, can move their bodies without feeling stressed, scared, perplexed or disappointed.
Our Vison : Normalization through sports
NPO TRACOS aims to develop a diverse and inclusive society where everyone, regardless of impairment, communicates empathically and respectfully. To that end, we have been building a community where children and adults with and without learning disabilities/difficulties respect and value each other through soccer.
As an operator of soccer schools and a soccer club, our mission is to offer people with learning disabilities/difficulties environments in which they can play soccer spontaneously, to promote their participation in society, and to pursue the principle of normalization through sports.
In order to carry out our mission, reaching out to individuals and society is crucial. We organize special events that unimpaired individuals participate in as players and volunteers to raise awareness and understanding.
Message From Masayoshi Yoshizawa
My name is Masayoshi Yoshizawa. I am the co-founder and vice-chairman of NPO TRACOS and more importantly a soccer coach who enjoys playing with our students.
I was a soccer coach for a junior team of a J-League (Japan Professional Football League) club. There, I always made children play soccer to win by following my instructions. When I look back at myself as a coach, I did not laugh nor did the children laugh. I thought that was normal until I met this boy at a special education classroom. He had been absent from school but he came back because he’d been told that a soccer coach would teach him how to play soccer. When we started playing soccer, he told me vividly what he wanted and what he liked, smiling. It was a big turning point for me. At first he wanted to play soccer with me. Then he made me want to play soccer with him and eventually with other children who have learning disabilities/difficulties.
I set up an NPO corporation “TRACOS” in 2003 to run soccer schools for children with learning disabilities/difficulties. TRACOS children have turned me into a coach who laughs a lot. At TRACOS, I let children do what they would like so that they can play soccer. It brings them laughter when they just chase the ball. Some don’t chase the ball but run laughing, and some just smile at the ball. Children who did not laugh much before will come to laugh here. It's not about winning or losing, it's all about playing and having fun.
Yonetomi Heights 1F 4-20-18 Chuo, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo 132-0021F
Date of the establishment
Chair: Hikari Egi
Vice chair: Masayoshi Yoshizawa
Board of directors:
Auditor: Keiko Saito