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  1. #1
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    Default Sports for autistic children

    Are there any sports your child with autism was willing to participate in? I still can’t get my 6 year old boy to do swimming lessons but he loves water and will easily go in a pool or the beach with me, as long as I lift him over any seaweed or shells. I tried Little Athletics but he just ran away. It’s difficult because I’m a single Mum without family support so I find it impossible to coax him into sport when I’m trying to watch his 2 younger siblings. I managed to get him to VAC Swim last year but not this year. He’s bigger and it was impossible to get him in the water and he kept running away. Also, does anyone know of a good forum for parents with autistic children? Thanks.

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    Gymnastics or Crossfit kids.

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    kiwimum890 is offline It won't happen overnight, but it will happen!
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    Karate or any other type of martial arts.

    There is a heap of info on the internet regarding the benefits for kids on the spectrum regarding martial arts so that would be my first option to look at.

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    My son did Aussie Hoops last year - it teaches kids the skills required to play basketball. The class size was pretty large and the teachers are quite accommodating with kids that have additional needs.

    If he is hard to engage in structured sports/activities, you might want to look at a class especially for kids with ASD/additional needs. In my area, there are options like soccer and rugby.

    Are you on facebook? You will probably find a support group in your area on there. I'm a member of one in my region and it's a good place to ask questions and seek service recommendations.

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    We started my almost 6yo in joey scouts last year. Unfortunately he didn't stick with it this year. He's barely holding it together be Friday afternoon at the moment with school starting, and that's having Wednesdays off, so for now I'm not pushing anything extra.

    I'm thinking I'll put him into swimming lessons. Do you have NDIS funding? If it fits your goals I've seen that they will fund the difference between group and private lessons if needed.

    E.g. group lessons here are 12, private about 35. . You would pay 12, and they'd pay 23 so you could do the private ones at the cost to you of group lessons.

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    DH has been so keen for DS to participate in team sports from a young age. He felt it would help with a lot of his (at the time undiagnosed) behaviours. It didn't, he really struggled to participate. We've tried Blast Cricket, Auskick and Soccer. He would run off, run back to me every time something didn't go as he wanted it to, stand in line to take a turn banging the football into his head (and sometimes the kid in front) and just not enjoy it at all.

    He did swimming lessons from 2 year old and it was all about having the right teacher. We pulled him out just before Melbourne lockdown started as we couldn't get him in with a teacher he meshed with. He is a competent survival swimmer and was just at the stage of learning proper strokes.

    Lockdown was almost a blessing in disguise, as there was no sports running, therefore no pressure from DH for DS to participate. It was also during this time that we got the diagnosis ball rolling.

    I did some research on good sports for children on the Autism spectrum and a lot was about solo sports, due to the social communication demands of team sports. Eg. Gymnastics, martial arts, tennis.

    Now DS is older (7.5yo) he can communicate that he doesn't like 'practise' (e.g. drills that other kids find fun) and just wants to do proper sport. I think some of that may be his ADHD, as he struggles to focus on repetitive tasks but can hyperfocus on challenging tasks. He's keen to play cricket next year when he's old enough to join the u/10s.

    His anxiety/perfectionism also makes him struggle when he can't do some thing perfectly first try - which leads to some epic explosive meltdowns. This is improving with age + starting ADHD medications. I'd like to start him in gymnastics/ninja warrior gym but worry as the evening classes are when his meds start to wear off! Lol!

    Is there a reason you feel he needs to play sport? We keep DS active with bike rides, trampoline, going to the tennis court and hitting a ball back and forth or the oval with a soccer or foot ball. I also try to take him to the park most weekends. I find this is a better place for me to support him with his socialising than at organised sports (where parents can't really step in). At the park I can guide him more directly with building his social skills while he's staying active.

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    Thanks for the suggestions. He gets really upset if I even mention trying a sport or if I take him to something to try. I thought it would tire him out and improve his behaviour as well but I think I’m just making him more upset. Also, he is a perfectionist too so will get upset if he doesn’t hit his baseball first go at home even. If I look deeply I think I’m worried I look like a **** Mum because all of my friends’ kids play sports and I know they think he’s like he is because he doesn’t play sports. I get asked by people all the time ‘well, does he play any sports?’ He has his balance bike (still won’t peddle his other bike), the kids have a trampoline, we walk to feed the local horses , playgrounds and swim at the beach and I take them to the pool once a month (stressful taking all 3 on my own so I can only stomach once a month while they are young!) so I think he gets enough activity and I’m always teaching him how to greet and talk to people (doesn’t seem to work yet though). Anyway, maybe I’ll let him tell me if he’s ever interested in something as he gets older. He loved swimming lessons when he was a toddler so it would be nice to see him learn to swim. Thanks for the NDIS information regarding them paying the difference. Private swimming lessons for the 3 kids is $75 but it’s casual so you don’t need to go every week. Thanks again.

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    Hi. Interesting that you post this as my DD is in a netball team. They are a very strong A grade team. This year they have had a new child placed in their team. This child has moved up into a new age bracket because she couldnt cope playing with younger kids who didnt know the rules of the game (her Mum told me this). Unfotunately though she is nowhere near the level of the rest of the team and they are frustrated and she is frustrated.

    Week 1, she got the ball 2 times and couldnt keep up with the pace of the game; Week 2 she cried and refused to go on the court until half time when her Mum and the coach convinced by letting her choose which position she plays; Week 3 she hadnt taken her earrings out so the umpire said she couldnt go on the court until she had taken them out so she screamed at her Mum that she "effing wants to go home"; Week 4 her team mate yelled out some advice to her (about the game, not yelling at her) and she ripped her bib off and ran off the court mid game and was hissing and pushing at her Mum to take her home.

    I approached the Mum after this to check if she was ok and she told me her daughter has autism and anxiety and she is overwhelmed by the crowding and the fact that she doesnt know her team mates yet (due to her anxiety she is not getting to the game until after the game has started hence no opportunity to warm up with her team mates).

    It's actually really sad for this girl as she obviously wants to play but she's been placed in a team that is way too experienced for her. I did discuss this with her Mum and her Mum said she'd rather stay in the team because at least all the players know the rules and how to play the game, she just has to get used to the pace of the game But as she is a much lower skilled player the game is going on around her.

    My DD knows about her teammate's autism/anxiety and she is really struggling to balance being kind and happy for her to be playing, against being competitive (and they are a very competitive team) and feeling like they are losing because this child is choosing to play in positions that she is not competent to play in (the coach is excellent and is letting her choose where she wants to play so that she will go on the court).

    Please if your son does start a sport then make sure he is at a level that suits him otherwise it will be even more frustrating for him.

    I hope this doesnt make me sound horrible, I am actually really supportive of this young girl playing netball (which apparantely she loves) but its heartbreaking seeing her so upset every week and I cant help but feel if she was in a lower grade team where the pace was a bit slower then she might actually enjoy it, instead of being upset every week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GirlsRock View Post
    Hi. Interesting that you post this as my DD is in a netball team. They are a very strong A grade team. This year they have had a new child placed in their team. This child has moved up into a new age bracket because she couldnt cope playing with younger kids who didnt know the rules of the game (her Mum told me this). Unfotunately though she is nowhere near the level of the rest of the team and they are frustrated and she is frustrated.

    Week 1, she got the ball 2 times and couldnt keep up with the pace of the game; Week 2 she cried and refused to go on the court until half time when her Mum and the coach convinced by letting her choose which position she plays; Week 3 she hadnt taken her earrings out so the umpire said she couldnt go on the court until she had taken them out so she screamed at her Mum that she "effing wants to go home"; Week 4 her team mate yelled out some advice to her (about the game, not yelling at her) and she ripped her bib off and ran off the court mid game and was hissing and pushing at her Mum to take her home.

    I approached the Mum after this to check if she was ok and she told me her daughter has autism and anxiety and she is overwhelmed by the crowding and the fact that she doesnt know her team mates yet (due to her anxiety she is not getting to the game until after the game has started hence no opportunity to warm up with her team mates).

    It's actually really sad for this girl as she obviously wants to play but she's been placed in a team that is way too experienced for her. I did discuss this with her Mum and her Mum said she'd rather stay in the team because at least all the players know the rules and how to play the game, she just has to get used to the pace of the game But as she is a much lower skilled player the game is going on around her.

    My DD knows about her teammate's autism/anxiety and she is really struggling to balance being kind and happy for her to be playing, against being competitive (and they are a very competitive team) and feeling like they are losing because this child is choosing to play in positions that she is not competent to play in (the coach is excellent and is letting her choose where she wants to play so that she will go on the court).

    Please if your son does start a sport then make sure he is at a level that suits him otherwise it will be even more frustrating for him.

    I hope this doesnt make me sound horrible, I am actually really supportive of this young girl playing netball (which apparantely she loves) but its heartbreaking seeing her so upset every week and I cant help but feel if she was in a lower grade team where the pace was a bit slower then she might actually enjoy it, instead of being upset every week.
    We are having this exact problem with my sons basketball team.
    I run the comp and had a mother approach me about joining a few days before the season started.
    She told me he had played before, just lacked a little confidence.
    I explained the only spot was in my sons team, A grade, they had played together for 3 years. She said it sounded great.
    Her poor son does not want to be there at all. Can’t catch a ball, doesn’t want to play, refuses to move off the bench. Only last time at training to told me her son has autism.
    If I knew all of this at the start I would have made a spot for him in a d grade team but now it’s too late.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lincolns mummy View Post
    We are having this exact problem with my sons basketball team.
    I run the comp and had a mother approach me about joining a few days before the season started.
    She told me he had played before, just lacked a little confidence.
    I explained the only spot was in my sons team, A grade, they had played together for 3 years. She said it sounded great.
    Her poor son does not want to be there at all. Can’t catch a ball, doesn’t want to play, refuses to move off the bench. Only last time at training to told me her son has autism.
    If I knew all of this at the start I would have made a spot for him in a d grade team but now it’s too late.
    Awww poor kid. It’s hard on everyone.

    Our season only runs until the end of term and the winter season starts a few weeks later. I’m really hoping that the coaches rearrange the teams and put her in a team at a more appropriate skill level.

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