Net Therapy helps children with special needs


Gazebo Photo by Kate Fruitticher

Stratford middle school teacher, Mrs. Jessica Kallay, hands out final prizes to the children of net therapy.

Net Therapy is a program to involve children with special needs in activities that they may not normally have the opportunity to participate in. This fall, there were tennis lessons headed by high school and adult volunteers who wanted to guide the children. The program was led by Stratford’s middle school teacher and assistant tennis coach, Jessica Kallay. 

Every Monday for six weeks, a group of children with a range of disabilities met at the John Drew Smith Tennis Center for an hour of fun. 

The children participated in different types of tennis activities while also making new friends. At the beginning of each session everyone got a partner and participated in warm-ups. After that, three different stations were set up for groups to rotate around. After an hour, the kids were rewarded with popsicles and gatorades before heading home. 

“Net Therapy is a way for members of the community who wouldn’t take advantage of a recreation class to come out and play with players who have similar interests, as well as a similar background,’’ Mrs. Kallay said. 

This particular Net Therapy, one for kids with autism, allows them to “work on their special motor skills and hand-eye coordination.”

Although this is not something Mrs. Kallay gets to do on a regular basis, she says she accepted the duty of running the sessions because “she loves tennis and working with a unique and talented group of individuals.” 

At the end of the six weeks, the children were given prizes for their hard work and dedication, along with new found friendships. Not only was it rewarding for the kids, but also for the volunteers that had spent many Mondays dedicating time to make them feel special.