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Should my Aspergers child participate in sports?

If your Aspergers (high functioning autistic) youngster is having difficulties socially in school, you may be tempted to sign him up for basketball or soccer with the other youngsters. You know your youngster better than anyone. Just be sure that you’re setting your youngster up for a positive, rather than a negative experience. Make sure you know who will be coaching your youngster, and make sure that he is someone who you want in charge of your youngster’s self-esteem for the next few months. Make sure your coach is a “good guy.” If the coach has any insight into Aspergers, even better!

However, if team sports are not your youngster’s strong suit and he or she gets very stressed or has that “lost” look while participating, then here are some alternatives:
  • Bike Riding (go on bike trails if you are concerned about safety)
  • Camping as a family
  • Going on Long Walks with You
  • Going to the Park (just being a kid!)
  • Karate (again, make sure the people in charge of the facility are warm, loving, patient people, before signing on the dotted line)
  • Playing Tag
  • Swimming

Each of these activities will help strengthen your youngster physically and give him the benefits of self-confidence as well.

All youngsters need to be physically active, but at what cost? Surely not at the cost of losing self-esteem. Sports are supposed to build you up, not tear you down.

And, of course, another option would be to send your youngster to a camp for Aspergers so he is trained, coached AND encouraged by people familiar with the special needs of your youngster.

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