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.
Problems Children with Developmental Disabilities Face
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.
One of the problems children with developmental disabilities/difficulties have is that they are all too often denied participation in sports. This is because team sports can be competitive, require athletic ability, the ability to follow directions and pay attention, as well as communication skills. These requirements deprive children with developmental disabilities/difficulties of many opportunities to join sporting activities and play with other children. As a result, these children often get less physical activity than typically developing children. Besides being often excluded or rejected, they may feel a sense of shame, isolation, low self-esteem, anger, fear and anxiety.
Their parents can feel the same way too. In addition, parents of children with developmental disabilities/difficulties may occasionally have hesitant feelings towards participation in sports because their children could possibly 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 can 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/difficulties, 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.
Children with developmental disabilities/difficulties just want to play sports like other children do, and their parents want to give them physical activity opportunities, but unfortunately there are currently many barriers for them.
Our Mission and Role
A bridge between people with developmental disabilities and people without disabilities
In order to carry out our mission, "normalization through sports ", reaching out to individuals and society is essential. No matter how hard we support people with developmental difficulties/disabilities, barriers they face remain unless society accepts them. Aiming to raise awareness, we organize events that people without disabilities participate in as players, volunteers and supporters so that they can get to know about developmental difficulties/disabilities through playing sport together.
An Ibasho for people with developmental difficulties/disabilities
Children with developmental difficulties/disabilities tend to give up joining physical activity, some have negative feelings towards sport while exercise is one of important factors affecting child’s growth and development.
TRACOS creates opportunities for children with special needs to play soccer, which enables them to build up their health, to acquire sociability and to learn cooperation and more importantly, to help them find sport fun.
Besides these opportunities to build up their health and build their social skills, we’ve also created an “Ibasho” (places they belong with) for them. Many people with developmental difficulties/disabilities say that it’s hard for them to be anywhere with others or they can’t find their Ibasho. Some of our children felt the same when they got out into the world. Whether you have difficulties/disabilities or not, having a place you belong with just encourages you. We’d like to continue to be their Ibasho, even after they grow up.