H.E.ART Foundation

Fondazione De Rigo H.E.ART Onlus and Fondazione Cervelli Ribelli Onlus together again in the name of neurodiversity

‘A ME GLI OCCHI’, the free multimedia platform dedicated to understanding and support for the world of autism, is enriched with a special focus devoted to ‘Sport and Inclusion’.

A valuable, one-of-a-kind project that is constantly evolving. Fondazione De Rigo H.E.ART Onlus - engaged in activities to support the training and growth of young people - strongly desired and supported the founding of ‘A me gli occhi’ (https://amegliocchi.cervelliribelli.it/), developed precisely with the desire to ‘help those who help’.

The portal came to be following the meeting between the De Rigo family and Gianluca Nicoletti, journalist and father of Tommy, a boy with autism, alongside the president of the Fondazione Cervelli Ribelli Onlus, an organisation formed to raise awareness of the culture and good practices relating to neurodiversity. A shared desire intended to offer tangible and concrete help to families, children, teachers and professionals. 

‘A me gli occhi’ is an innovative platform, which allows you to find - in both a simple and understandable way - the information necessary before diagnosis, so as to understand what autism is. It comprises a series of informative digital content for parents and caregivers, ranging from basic literacy to more specific topics, downloadable free of charge.

New for 2024, this includes the special ‘Sport and Inclusion’ content: guidance in choosing sports activities for boys and girls with autism and in managing the sporting experience for instructors, parents and neurotypical classmates.

Sport has in fact been shown to help children with autism, contributing to combating isolation and promoting social inclusion. Moreover, it enables them to increase their ability to concentrate and self-regulate their emotions, reduces impulsiveness and increases their sense of self-efficacy, thanks also to a calming effect that prevents sensory overload.

Which sports best suit the needs of children with autism? What advice can be given to sports professionals? What reassurance can be given to parents and what explanations provided to neurotypical classmates? These are the main questions answered by the ‘A me gli occhi’ platform, by way of an informative kit, downloadable and available for free via the website. The information cards have been designed in infographic format for immediacy and incisiveness. It is therefore possible to consult the ‘10 Sports Cards’, offering advice on suggested sports and the pros and cons of each, in addition to frequently asked questions from parents, children and sports staff, with explanations, opinions and suggestions from tutors. The sports included within the platform are varied and are as follows: Athletics, Martial Arts, Basketball, Football, Dance, Horse Riding, Swimming, Rugby, Fencing and Tennis.

A practical ‘ready-to-use’ guide, which allows you to immediately understand the needs and behaviours of children with autism.

Videos of actual training sessions - with professionals who are involved in the subject at various levels, thus providing tangible assistance in every context - are also available within the platform. From the school environment to assistance, treatments and family rights, also addressing issues arising in the period before diagnosis and that which follows. Several professionals were interviewed by Gianluca Nicoletti, who between them represent the various disciplines and answer the questions most frequently asked on the subject.

Gianluca Nicoletti commented the following: “The ‘A me gli occhi’ (Eyes on me) project aims to offer a small yet fundamental contribution to working with people with autism. The aim is to ‘draw attention’ to the world of neurodiversity and provide a useful and tangible tool to strengthen knowledge within this field. We are delighted to share the values ​​of this all-important project with the Fondazione De Rigo H.E.ART, which continues to choose to support us in the creation of ever-new services that are truly essential for children, families and society. The new section dedicated to Sport, understood as an element of inclusion, represents a key piece in the evolution of the project”.

Fondazione De Rigo H.E.ART Onlus - founded in 2018 to mark the 40th anniversary of the De Rigo Group, a global leader in the eyewear sector - has set itself the mission of providing support to young people to enable them to claim their inalienable right to health and education by stimulating the development of their individual personalities.

“‘Helping those who help’ has always been our mission. With Fondazione Cervelli Ribelli Onlus and thanks to the help of Kulta-Scuola Channel, we have created something that is genuinely useful and relevant", added Barbara De Rigo, President of the Fondazione De Rigo H.E.ART Onlus. “We’ve believed wholeheartedly in this project for several years now, and the integration of cards dedicated to the world of sport is a step in the right direction. Children are our future and we are all called upon to speak about diversity and inclusion”.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism affects around 78 million people worldwide. In Italy alone, it is estimated that 1 in every 77 children aged 7-9 has an autism spectrum disorder, with a higher prevalence among males.