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Special Needs Awareness

Ten Sport Suggestions for Kids with Autism

May 01, 2011
Not one child with autism is alike. What works for one kid may not be ideal for the next. As parents consider introducing sports and athletics to their child with autism, Georgia Frey, associate professor in the department of Kinesiology at Indiana University, encourages families to try lots of athletic activities before settling on one sport. First help the child gain physical confidence, and then they may have the self esteem and the drive to try other activities, including team sports.

Following are a few physical activities that area experts say may be fun for Kids on the autism spectrum. Of course, parents know their child better than anyone. If they like sailing or skipping, so be it. It may not be on this list, but it may be right for the child. The possibilities for athletic fun is truly without limits.

Rock climbing: This sport helps kids learn to think ahead and problem solve.

Golf: On the green, kids have to wait their turns and let people play ahead of them.

Swimming: This whole-body sport is often sensory rewarding for kids with autism.

Track and field: Running is a great activity for the individual-minded athlete; however, be aware that the events often start with a loud bang from a gun that may not be good for some kids.

Martial arts: Taught in a highly structured environment, martial arts can help develop a child's self confidence, motor skills and concentration.

Hiking: Hikes, even if it's as simple as walking the Monon Trail, can put kids in touch with nature, become a heart-Healthy habit, and get them out and about amongst the community.

Bicycle riding: In addition to promoting a child's balance and coordination, riding bikes can be a great recreational activity the entire family can enjoy together.

Horseback riding: Not only is horseback riding good exercise, the interaction between the horse and rider can grow into an amazing relationship.

Gymnastics: With a good coach, kids can gain body awareness and learn to exert better control of their bodies.

Bowling: Lanes of bowlers may be loud, but it's an underlying roar of white noise versus the shrills and shrieks that come with other team sports. This can sometimes be easier for kids with sensory issues to take.

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Carrie Bishop is a freelance writer and mother of two young sons whose daily antics inspire her work and life. Contact her at freelancewritercarrie@gmail.com.

Tags: Enrichment, In This Issue, Health, Kids, Parenting, Special Needs

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