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Disclaimer: The Autism Resource Foundation provides general information to the autism community. The information comes from a variety of sources, and the Autism Resource Foundation does not independently verify any of it, nor does it necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of the Autism Resource Foundation. Nothing on this website should be construed as medical advice. Always consult your doctor regarding the needs of your family.
Source: Health Guide
Are you considering sports therapy for your autistic child? Find out more about the value and the benefits of sports therapy for autistic children.
Sports therapy is especially used for older children with autism who still need the sensory stimulation provided by physical activities. Sports therapy is often recommended by professionals in the field of autism, but can be carried on in schools, or at home with peers. This also works out as a practical option for therapy in the context of integrated schools. This article focuses on the benefits of sports therapy for autistic children and gives ideas for specific sports to try.
Sports and the Sensory System
Children with autism have deficits in their sensory processing. They usually seek sensory stimulation much more than others around them. This need for sensory stimulation is also the cause for many autistic behaviors such as spinning, rocking and restlessness. Physical and sensory activities allow the child the opportunity to experience these sensations. Sports are a socially acceptable activity that can help children with autism get sensory input. Sports also requires the child to respond to sensory input. Thus, this helps in the further development of the sensory processing system, which will show imported skills in all areas of life.
Sports and Social Behavior
Children with autism usually have under developed social skills. They may struggle with initiating a conversation, or even responding to a question. Participating in sports gives them an opportunity to learn to interact and play with other children. Team games help children with autism learn to coordinate with those around them. Thus, sports can help children with autism to learn social skills and connect to those around them.
Sports for Children with Autism
Every child with autism is different and has different sensory needs. Thus, they will prefer different sports that give them different types of sensory input. Here are some of the sensory needs of children with autism, and some sports that they may enjoy.
Tactile Sports: Children who tend to rub things on their body, or rub themselves on the wall usually enjoy tactile sports. Some ideas include swimming, beach volleyball, beach Frisbee, and any sports that require running bare foot on grass or sand.