Getting your child with autism moving can be a challenge. For kiddos with fewer skills, it can be hard to find a program that will accommodate their needs, and for those with more skills, negotiating the social demands of group sport activities can be overwhelming. But research has shown that increased physical activity is linked to decreasing difficult behaviors and improving cognitive ability. So what sports can give your child with ASD the most fun and effective workout? Here are three activities that will give your child a workout and also teach some valuable skills:
1) Swimming: First of all, water safety and the ability to swim are extremely important for all kiddos to learn in order to be safe around water. This may be especially true for kids with ASD, as some have a tendency to be attracted to water. Swimming is also a great workout and can leave even the most active kid exhausted by bedtime. Many organizations have adaptive swim classes for children with disabilities or you can find family swim times at community pools.
2) Running: Does your child have a lot of energy? Get him or her running! Running is a strenuous but fun sport for kids of any age that doesn't involve a lot of complicated rules or social demands. You can use running to establish routines and teach your child about boundaries, which could help to prevent a child from going wandering.
3) Aikido: Aikido is a martial art that has no punching or kicking. It is always done with another person, which helps kids learn to read others' body language. Traditional Aikido is also learned by watching and doing rather than by verbal instruction. As many kids with ASD are visual learners, some may be very successful learning in this format.
Choose a sport and get your child moving today!
Is your child on the spectrum non-verbal or emergently verbal? Here are 3 strategies you can use today to increase your child's communication skills at home:
1) Don't get something for nothing! It may sound like common-sense, but if your child wants an item or activity, make sure he has to do something communicative to get it. This can be as simple as a point or eye contact, but can build up to ...vocalizations or signs.
2) Completing the line: Does your child have a favorite song? Or does she like games like Peek a boo or chase? Start a phrase or song line and have her put on the last word (or even a sound) to continue the game or song. For instance, you could say: 'Ready, set...' and when she says 'go', she gets chased! Pretty fun...
3) Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.: The more chances to request, the more practice your kiddo gets. He wants juice? Fine. Just give him a little bit. Enough for a few drinks. Then hold the juice container up & have him request again. Same with an activity like a video game or coloring. Have the child stop after 5-10 minutes & request again.
Pick one of these strategies & give it a try tonight!