Participating in sports can help your ASD child pick up social skills and improve their health. We look at some of the best sports for autistic boy.
You must be wondering what made me ponder on Autism. Well, a recent CDC report suggests that 1 in 54 children in the U.S are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Also, to my surprise, boys are four more times likely to be diagnosed with ASD.
There is no proven medical detection for Autism. But, studies show that it can cause behavioral and communication-related problems. It has a negative impact on a person’s cognitive and emotional health.
Apart from prescribed therapies, physical activities play a vital role in cases of ASD. Physical exercises and sports help boost endurance and improve the social functioning of a child with ASD.
This segment will give you an insight into the Best Sport For Autistic Boys. Here are eight sports suitable for young boys with Autism.
8 Of The Best Sports For An Autistic Boy
It is essential to choose a sport that doesn’t involve an advanced amount of communication as it might stress the kid’s mind. But, when it comes to light and enjoyable sport, what could be better than soccer? If your kid doesn’t have any significant sensory.
Soccer is always thought of as a fun sport, but its social aspects are always underrated. A soccer player tends to learn and absorb the importance of teamwork. Also, he becomes much aware and realistic about the obstacles in his field of view.
- Improved Focus: The game of soccer is primarily based on focusing on the task at hand. Regular practices not only help in enhancing one’s but also makes the person aligned to the situation better.
- Quick Decision-making: In general, soccer is a fast-paced game. All the players are expected to make quick decisions to get the best result. Thus, such a sport is likely to foster one’s ability to strategize and critical thinking.
- Facilitates Teamwork: The sense of coordination and the value of cooperation only come when a team gets along. Initially, an autistic child might find it challenging to fit into a team, but he develops social functionality and improved communication skills with time.
- Stimulates Brain Cell Growth: All these benefits make the child mentally and physically agile. Such activities pump in positivity and contribute to the overall cognitive development of a child.
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Swimming has its benefits beyond the pool. It involves some fun water play and basic strokes. When it comes to people with ASD, this aquatic therapy is proven to be effective.
Apart from improving one’s motor skills and coordination, this sports activity has much more to offer. Water is an excellent environment for rehabilitation and relaxation.
Thus, it helps in reducing stress and anxiety levels. Also, this becomes quite helpful in cases where the person struggles with sensory disabilities. This adds up to one’s improved cognitive development.
- Enhances Motor Skills: Learning to swim may seem a frightening endeavor at first, but within no time, it becomes kids’ favorite hobby. The repetitive motion and different strokes help in enhancing one’s motor skills.
- Improves Coordination: Regular swimming practices not only fastens one’s pace but also improves coordination. Pool activities help in improving mental alertness and impulse control resulting in improved coordination. One’s ability to follow and respond to instructions also gets enhanced.
- Improves Social Competence: Swimming plays an essential role in regulating one’s social behaviors and interactions. The child learns about basic social functionality, the implications of which are of great importance in the long run.
- Improves Communication: In general, people with ASD face difficulty in developing language and communicating. This also forms a considerable part of the diagnostic criteria. Swimming opens doors for boundless opportunities in the form of aquatic programs, contests, and random water plays. This helps a person in better interaction and speech development.
- Boosts Strength: Physical activities such as swimming boosts one’s strength and endurance. Engaging in such rigorous activity helps in regulating their hyperactivity. Also, multiple repetitive motions help a person in mastering confident strokes.
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Track & Field
Track & Field essentially involves a team sharing a common goal but at individual levels. Such an activity requires a person to socialize without the need for constant communication. Thus, your child may or may not interact, but he will learn something just by watching his peers around.
Besides this, running also proves to be beneficial in cases of diabetes and obesity, which are often associated with ASD.
- Regulates Behavior: Basic physical activities such as running and jogging help in drawing physical aptitude. Such activities provide satisfaction, enjoyment, and confidence all at the same time. This gets reflected in one’s behavior and body language. When the person feels content and independent from within, his mind is calm and regulated.
- Provides Full Body Workout: Regular running offers a full-body workout. Physical movement makes the body fit and the mind alert. The build-in stamina and energy gets channelized into a productive manner.
- Decreases Anxiety: One of the most common symptoms of Autism is increased anxiety levels. Within no time, this bubble of anxiety gets burst into aggression which is even more dangerous. Physical activities like running and jumping align one’s mind and body in a specific direction. This helps in decreasing anxiety, aggression, stereotypical behavior.
- Channelizes Energy: In some cases, a child with ASD experiences a lot of negativity built in due to prolonged tension and stress. A full-body workout helps in burning out all such negative energy. Thus, the energy is channelized into a productive direction.
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Who doesn’t like the pleasant breeze on the face and the sound of birds chirping?
Everyone does! And biking multiplies this enriching experience. While biking is one of the most sought-after evening pastimes, it offers various health benefits as well.
Biking invokes a sense of independence and also boosts stamina. Thus, kids with Autism should include biking in their routine lifestyle.
- Builds Self-confidence: Pedaling, balancing, and riding a bike evokes a sense of independence in oneself. Teaching kids biking helps in building their self-confidence at a very tender age. This makes them less reliant on their elders. Thus, it has a positive impact on their self-esteem. Also, kids learn the value of determination in the process of learning to ride a bike.
- Improves Sensory Integration: Biking is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. In general, children with Autism are pretty sensitive to ambient changes. Biking not only helps a child gain body awareness but also helps in improving one’s sensory integration.
- Improves Motor Skills: Bike riding is an excellent way of improving one’s motor planning skills. Balancing the bike and trunk control along with spontaneous response helps in enhancing coordination.
- Increases Muscle Strength: Apart from the social aspects of biking, it has innumerable physical benefits too. Regular biking helps in building core leg muscles. This helps in improving the stamina and endurance of a person.
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Bowling may not involve a lot of physical activity. But it is pretty satisfying watching the pins come crashing down. It helps in developing hand-eye coordination and increases concentration. The bowling alleys make excellent social settings for a child to learn basic public behavior and soft skills. Thus, it can be very beneficial for kids on the autism spectrum.
- Improves Social Coordination: Bowling alleys are usually busy recreational spots. A child gets to learn a lot in such a social setting. Often people are required to wait for their turns while bowling. Thus a child learns the art of being patient not only with the people around but also with oneself. He/she absorbs and realizes the importance of public etiquette with ease in such a setting.
- Improves Motor Skills: Repetitive throwing of balls and targeting the pins helps improve one’s motor skills. This inherently helps in enhancing one’s focus too. Also, when one has mastered basic bowling skills, he/she enjoys the game even more.
- Improves Behavioral Skills: Behavioral skills comprise not only just patience and communication. Instead, it encompasses several other soft skills as well. A sport like bowling helps in regulating one’s aggression, anxiety, and stereotypical behavior. It also helps in improving alertness and agility.
- Builds Self-confidence: While watching the ball rolling down the lane is fun, watching the pins crash is even more rewarding. A child gets happy with his smallest of small achievements. Thus, striking and crushing the pins boosts their self-confidence.
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Martial arts is an interesting way to keep children with ASD engaged. In the process of slightly unpredictable physical interaction, a child attains physical as well as well-being. Judo, taekwondo, and karate are excellent ways of stress-busting and releasing one’s emotional baggage. It also helps in building physical strength, endurance, and flexibility.
- Combats Anxiety: Every kind of martial arts involves physical interaction. Invariably, it helps in venting out stress, frustration, and tension. Martial art is an excellent mental drill to combat anxiety, aggression, and emotional baggage.
- Improves Social Functionality: Children with ASD often face problems with their social skills. Martial arts are known to lessen social communication deficits. It enhances one’s social behavior and offers various emotional benefits.
- Builds Self-esteem: Autistic children often struggle with self-confidence and self-independence issues. They lack self-acceptance and are thus bound with various complexes. Martial arts help in building self-esteem as one constantly fights for himself.
- Builds Discipline: Martial arts helps in building discipline and structure. As one performs regular practices, the mind and body get trained for betterment.
- Boosts Physical Skills: Apart from improving eye contact and social skills, martial arts serve well its prime purpose of physical fitness. Martial art is a structured physical exercise that helps in enhancing endurance and strength. With each practice, a person becomes more aware of his own body and senses.
For kids with Autism, horseback riding is often considered hippotherapy. Even kids with severe levels of Autism are known to enjoy and excel at horseback riding. It involves minimal physical movement and strenuous activity.
- Improves Communication Skills: Kids on the autism spectrum show drastic improvement when introduced to horseback riding. The horse handlers train the riders to observe and accept every movement. Also, some children are at much more ease while communicating with animals.
- Enhances Focus: With each ride, a person masters the art of horsemanship and gains better focus. In the process of accepting the training, a person learns to focus on every sight and movement.
- Improves Sensory Integration: Horse riding is a proven therapy for people with Autism. It helps in improving sensory and visual stimulation. Watching the surroundings, hearing the horse hoofs, and smelling the ambient aromas help in sensory integration.
- Improves Motor Skills: As one learns to respond to every movement while riding a horse, he/she improves upon graded motor skills and sensory input.
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Hiking boosts the performance of sensory organs and is all about enjoying the natural world. This doesn’t involve any strenuous physical activity or intense social communication. It just helps in relieving stress and detoxification.
- Aligns The Mind: A moment of calm and quiet helps in gaining perspective and focus. Connecting with nature is always therapeutic and helps in aligning one’s thoughts.
- Calms The Body: Physical and mental exhaustion can cause many health problems. A little detoxification helps in calming the mind as well as the body.
- Relieves Stress: Hiking is very effective when it comes to relieving stress. Without much physical exhaustion and intense social pressure, a person feels relaxed’s lap.
Other Physical Activities
Apart from these sports, other physical activities also help in improving a child’s overall cognitive development.
Regular yoga, squats, arm circles, and star jumps are a great source of burning the negativities and pumping positivity. Rigorous physical exercises help in regulating anxiety levels and stereotypical behavior.
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Did you find these insights on Autism helpful?
Well, choosing the proper exercise and sport for your child can be daunting. But, it is equally important to indulge them in such activities for their overall development.
Also, kindly share your views and experiences in the comments below.