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#1 of 20 Old 12-07-2010, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 3.5, has an Autism dx, and is physically interested in the playground but we haven't gotten much past that.  He likes (as in, he doesn't freak out if I watch them) dancing shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, and he'll dance with me but it's rare that he'll dance with Yo Gabba Gabba or other kids "get up and move" shows.  He's also not good at Circle Time, doing things with the group, etc.

 

I realize he's still young, but I look forward to one day being involved in an activity or sport we can enjoy as a family.  There doesn't seem to be many if any autism-centered sports/classes around here, but the Special Olympics program looked promising and I was wondering what other families did re: sports.  As of today, my DS has a rather short attention span, he attends a SN preschool and they report that he's still not where he should be when it comes to "belonging" to the class.  It's not uncommon for a child with autism to be in his own world, but looking for direction.  I was thinking about asking his PT if beginner skates would be a good idea?  We live near an ice rink...

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#2 of 20 Old 12-07-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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Our behavior consultant has recommended that DD stay away from team sports as she would not be able to understand elements of strategy, the social nuances, etc. She suggested martial arts to aid in discipline and self regulation and swimming as it's great for low muscle tone, which DD has. She also suggested we try to go for non-competitive sports because DD has real trouble with feelings of failure (and she's not even 5!).


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#3 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 07:04 AM
 
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Have you looked for sport programs that are geared towards all abilities, not just ASD specific programs?  My DD participates in an all abilities competitive cheerleading squad and baseball. Miracle League has programs around the country. We have found that bowling is a good "sport" for us all to do together.  Lugging the bowl around is great heavy work for DD's system.  


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#4 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 07:13 AM
 
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My DS is 7, has autism, and has been involved in Tang Soo Do (Korean martial arts) for a year...before that, he was involved in mixed martial arts for a year.  He has actually done *really* well with it.  He can be unfocused sometimes, obviously doesn't make the eye contact most sensais like to see, and his core muscle strength makes him a spaghetti noodle.  BUT, the discipline required has been fan.tas.tic for him.  It also gives him a lot of confidence.  Since it's fairly meditative due to the repetition in practice and the forms, DS can be in his own little world and still fit in...any competitions are individual in nature so he doesn't have to "play as a team" (except when doing forms, he does have to be able to do his thing in a group setting).  I do TSD as well, and the both of us just completed an 8 hour training session with the regional masters.  It's something I never thought he could do, but he did it very well. 


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#5 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 07:30 AM
 
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Golf, swimming, gymnastics. You child might not be good at the gymnastics, but will get so much out of the sensory time and will likely enjoy it anyway. Golf and swimming are great. These are all things my children do. Oh, apparently, Tae Kwondo went over well too.

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#6 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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I don't have a kid on the spectrum, but he's got some spectrum-y characteristics. I'd echo what others have said: Individual sports that can become life-long activities. Swimming is often really good for sensory kids because it provides a whole body 'work out'. Gymnastics is great for coordination and core strength. Martial arts seem to be pretty popular with a lot of special needs kids (autism, ADHD) and I think that you could probably find a good teacher to work with your son. Don't forget about things like bike-riding or horseback riding, skateboarding or running. Hiking might be a good family activity. I'd caution against starting anything organized too early though -- our ds was not ready for classes until about 5. He was just overwhelmed by the sensory needs of a big group.

 

If he ever does want to try a team sport, I'd recommend baseball. Baseball is a nice combination of essentially individual effort (one pitcher-one batter) in a group. It doesn't move too fast. It also is a good sport to watch/be a fan for -- it's got all sorts of geeky stats that my son loves!


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#7 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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My DS is 6 and has ASD as well as a mild visual impairment. We've been lucky that there are several special needs sports opportunities in our area. Our community rec center offers special needs swim classes, which are one-on-one with specially trained instructors. DS loves swimming. Last summer he participated in a SN tennis clinic that was run by a local organization. This fall DS participated in TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), which a special needs soccer league that is part if the US Youth Soccer Association. TOPSoccer turned out ot be an amazing expereince for our son, as well as for us as a family. Maybe there is a group in your area.

 

http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/programs/TOPSoccer.asp 

 

We have tried regular sports with no success. T-ball in particular was a dismal failure. DS liked the hitting and the running, but could not understand why he would want ot watch someone else hit or pay attention to where the ball went afterwards.


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#8 of 20 Old 12-09-2010, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the thoughts and ideas.  I am encouraged that we have some fun to look forward to!

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#9 of 20 Old 12-09-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lollybrat View Post

We have tried regular sports with no success. T-ball in particular was a dismal failure. DS liked the hitting and the running, but could not understand why he would want ot watch someone else hit or pay attention to where the ball went afterwards.


Well, 1/2 the 5-6 year olds on my dd's T-ball team were like that last year. They were busy building dirt mounds, twirling, talking to each other and doing everything other than paying attention to fielding when it was their turn to field. lol.gif

 

Personally, I think that 5-6 is just too young for baseball/t-ball. Our ds didn't start until age 9, and that was the perfect age.


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#10 of 20 Old 12-10-2010, 05:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lollybrat View Post

We have tried regular sports with no success. T-ball in particular was a dismal failure. DS liked the hitting and the running, but could not understand why he would want ot watch someone else hit or pay attention to where the ball went afterwards.


Well, 1/2 the 5-6 year olds on my dd's T-ball team were like that last year. They were busy building dirt mounds, twirling, talking to each other and doing everything other than paying attention to fielding when it was their turn to field. lol.gif

 

Personally, I think that 5-6 is just too young for baseball/t-ball. Our ds didn't start until age 9, and that was the perfect age.



I understand what you are saying. The typical kids on my son's T-ball team were like what you are describing. If DS had been doing those types of things we would have stuck with it. But the minor behaviors you mentioned are NOT EVEN REMOTELY close the the difficulties DS had with T-Ball.

 

DS had some behavior difficulties with soccer too, but since it was a special needs league these bahavior problems were anticipated and understood. There were lots of extra adult coaches and the local high school soccer teams provided one-on-one helpers for players who needed them as well as other accommodations. And because all of the kids had some special needs (of all different types), the atmosphere was completely different. DS loved soccer and by the end of the season he had gained some sports skills, some very basic recognition of team play, and a lot of confidence.


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#11 of 20 Old 12-13-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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We do gymnastics for both of my older two...DS is 8 and on the spectrum, and DD is 5 and has a lot of sensory issues.  Our gym is awesome...they even created a special class for my kids with 2 instructors (so one on one time for both!) and no extra cost to us.  They both have a lot of fun, and really enjoy the trampoline.  I think it is helping with strength and coordination, which considering what genes they got from me, they need all the help they can get. ;)


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#12 of 20 Old 12-19-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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My 8 year old son who has high functioning Autism has been in Tae Kwon Do since he was 3. It has been fantastic even though he struggles with it. He just stared competing in sparring tournaments in October.


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#13 of 20 Old 12-20-2010, 07:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

Golf, swimming, gymnastics. You child might not be good at the gymnastics, but will get so much out of the sensory time and will likely enjoy it anyway. Golf and swimming are great. These are all things my children do. Oh, apparently, Tae Kwondo went over well too.



gymnastics class as well as "creative movement" worked well for my ASD dd when she was young. As she got older, the dance classes started getting harder and she just couldn't keep up. Her motor skills were just too far off for it to be fun. Gymnastics stayed fun longer, and was great for her sensory issues.

 

Swimming was the big thing for her. It's the only thing she's been able to do as part of a team. Swimming is GREAT for spectrum kids because it is like therapy for their sensory issues, but is a completely normal kid activity complete with ribbons. It's individual, and you do the same thing over and over. There are just 4 strokes! Although my DD isn't tied to social cues at all, she loved having a swim suit and cap like the other kids, and being on a team. Her coached stressed "personal best."  It was great.

 

She stuck with swimming until puberty hit, and now is getting more comfortable with her body and thinking about going back to it. (she's 14)

 

Regular team sports, such as soccer, basketball, etc. really never worked for her at all. Anything were everyone is running around trying to play with the same ball just doesn't work for her. 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#14 of 20 Old 12-20-2010, 08:10 PM
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My DS1 has an ASD diagnosis & has been enjoying private gymnastics lessons for 3 years.  It costs about $2 per hour more than a regular gymnastics class.  Some gyms offer a special needs class -- call and ask!  Special Olympics athletes must be 8 years or older to participate.  Do you have a Friendship Circle near you?  Our local Friendship Circle pairs up DS1 with a teenage volunteer trained in play therapy for various sports activities.


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#15 of 20 Old 12-21-2010, 06:44 PM
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I will echo what others have said: gymnastics and swimming are both great for sensory input which my son really craves.  He did both when he was younger.  TOPsoccer is a good program as well.  At 7 my son has been able to participate on a regular soccer team and did pretty well.  We started him really young and prepared him well for practices and games.  Since his older brothers are both very athletic, he is interested in sports but has trouble with coordination.  Individual sports are often better for kids on the spectrum as others have stated. My son's doctor recommended swimming, martial arts, and wrestling.  My oldest son (not special needs) wrestles so we may start our spectrum kiddo with that soon and see how it goes. 

 

Unfortunately the sports he wants to play are football and lacrosse.  Not the best choices for him.  He did play a season of lacrosse but we played him down an age group.  He did OK but I don't think he will fare well in his real age group.  We told him he can play football if they let him play down an age group for at least one season.  Some leagues are OK with it if you have documentation of special needs and some are not.  Just something to consider if your son finds a sport he really wants to play that is kind of difficult.

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#16 of 20 Old 12-21-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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My spectrum-y kid (actually NOT spectrum, this has been demonstrated to my complete satisfaction by a series of medical professionals, but ASD parents pick me out of a crowd and start swapping war stories when DS is having a bad day) has tried a series of sports, and IMHO the whole thing was a bad fit in the preschool  and kindy years and I should have just left the poor little guy alone. He is now 6.5 and asking to do gymnastics, theatre troupe etc., so he has memories of those early activities that have apparently sparked an interest, but it sure was torturous for all involved at the time.

 

My vote is to try one series of one individualized activity like horseback riding or one frequently-successful activity like martial arts, and just see if it's a net positive experience. If it's not, wait another year and try again. 

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#17 of 20 Old 12-21-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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We've had good luck with ice skating, and it helps if you can skate at least okay so you can help them out.  Mini-golf in the warmer months.  Occasionally we do some light gymnastics at home.  He just loves to run, so I let him run whenever and wherever it's safe.  He's not the least bit interested in team sports so far.  But we got a Tee and he practices hitting the ball in the backyard.  He also likes hitting some tennis balls when I bounce them to him.  We have a basketball and he likes just trying to shoot for baskets, forget playing a game.  There's a playground nearby with a special basketball setup they can use for persons in wheelchairs, and some of the hoops are low enough for him.  Occasionally we kick a ball back and forth to each other, but he's not interested in soccer at all.  (We tried one of those young kids' sports sampler classes. )  He totally doesn't get how to dance at all, forget that.   Oh, and we're doing swim lessons (mommy & me - he'd never go for the "by himself" classes)...even with lots of water avoidance at the beginning, it's been helpful to try to get him acclimated to being in the water, at least a little bit.  He's also got a mini trampoline that he loves to bounce on...every day.  And a swing in the backyard - that's his sensory thing.  We also do frisbee throwing spring-fall.


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#18 of 20 Old 12-22-2010, 07:33 AM
 
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This is going to sound like a strange suggestions, but if you have a good teacher, it is wonderful for the kids.  Look at Karate.  My eldest is in it, on the suggestion of his counselor.  He has matured so much, even his school teacher has seen it.  It has given him self confidence.

 

Now, I am not sure how most schools are run, as I think we lucked into a wonderful program.  Our Soke (school owner/teacher) is wonderful.  He makes the class fun.  We are not always serious, we have fun.  Here are some examples of what he does with his students (and they are learning working on skills even though they don't realize it -- also bear in mind that the class has kids as young as 4 and as old as 40+).

 

The first class after testing - we play games -- We have done simon says; musical chairs; and other stuff.  Simon says gets them to work on listening skills; musical chairs works on yours speed and agility and listen.

 

We recently did a sort of dodge ball.  He calls one person at a time to the wall, and we use foam pads and throw them at the person.  The person works on their ability to move, change direction and dodge the pads.  At first us adults were picking up the pads, but eventually the kids got into it.  With a little direction, the kids went two by two out to retrieve them after each "attack" - gets them to work on listening, taking turns, etc.

 

Now we also do have some serious times - we learn how to use weapons and he doesn't limit it to certain belts and above.  Any student can learn a weapon, and he has extra weapons for students to use.  I always try to show taking turns, especially during bow staff, because we have so many kids on the staff that there just is not safe room for adults at the same time.  Let the kids go first, and Soke will then have them sit down and let adults in/older/advanced students do it.  We also have about 3-4 weeks of serious time before a test session.  We use these couple of weeks as review of everything we have learned to prepare for an all day test session.

 

Now, I cannot get my middle son who has special needs to go in, because he thinks it is too loud, but we do have a 4 yo who is very hyper and he does wonderful in the class.

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#19 of 20 Old 12-22-2010, 08:34 AM
 
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DS tried TKD around 3/4 and it was a disaster. At 6 he did midget football with dh as one of the coaches. The first 1.2 months of practice did NOT go well and dh was ready to pull him, but once ds started having games he developed an interest and seemed to benefit from being on the team.


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#20 of 20 Old 12-28-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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This might not be along the lines of what is traditionally considered a "sport" but to supplement any actual structured activities you could also start more outdoorsy things like hiking and climbing.  Right now it can start with just nature hikes and you can look for certain things along your walks, and go to various trails and places that are driving distance (or even walking distance) but when he gets older it can lead into bird watching, biking, or even Geo-caching (http://www.geocaching.com/) which one of the local ASD kids we know is obsessed with and really really enjoys.  You might find that there are lots of clubs and activities centered around this type of thing that make it far more social than you would have thought, while also not being overwhelming or too loud like more traditional team sports can be.  It can also be a good background for when it comes time to think about summer camps and things like that.

 

I'd also like to add my voice to all the PPs who said to try martial arts and/or swimming.

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