Monday, June 25, 2012

Aspergers, Sports and Athleticism

Sports can be a difficult at best, and incredibly embarrassing at worst, for many young Aspies. It's proven that most Aspies have difficulty with some degree of motor skill function, basically we're clumsy as hell. I am always dropping things, tripping over sidewalks, stumbling around doorways, misinterpreting gestures, etc., that have all made my ability to participate in group sports all but impossible, no let me be honest with myself and change that to completely impossible.

You want your Aspie to get out and about, to be physically fit and happy. Physical activity is a necessary part of staying mentally healthy as well, your body creates necessary endorphins which can do a lot of the work for you when it comes to finding ways to keep your Aspie happy and cheery.

OK so we know basketball and soccer are out, maybe the same for track sports. If you truly find that your Aspie has no true athletic interest or ability consider some of these options:
  • Play frisbee in the park. This involves some coordination building activity and lots of running around chasing the disc they will inevitably miss. 
  • Croquet is less intensive for hotter days or those with no interest in exertion, but it keeps their focus and gets them out in the sun, wind and air for a bit. A good starting point.
  • Badminton is excellent because it is one of the more physically demanding of the "lesser sports" but also great fun, with lots of running, eye-on-the-birdie coordination building, laughs and conversation. I can play this game for hours.
  • Horseshoes are fun and simple, actually keeps some tone in upper arms and body and demands focus and problem solving which Aspies tend to enjoy. They need to figure out the best way to hold the shoe, the best type of toss, take winds into account for how much force they need to put behind each toss, etc. 
  • Kite flying is another good one especially if you buy a kit that requires the kite to be built first. This engages family time, your Aspies love of engineering and mechanics, and then he has the payoff of hours of fun while figuring out how to get the kite airborn, keeping it aloft and eventually how to do tricks. You may need to guide him on each step, he may give up after having it in the air for only a few minutes thinking this is the end goal until you show him that he can execute dips, dives and flyby's with the new toy.
  • Swimming is by far the ultimate activity for many Aspies. It is among the best forms of exercise (for anyone), is easy on the body, and you can bring in so many different elements to the scenario from pool games ranging from Marco Polo to Water Polo, toys, contests like races with a friend from one point to another, and the ability to explore surroundings at natural areas like ponds, lakes and rivers due to the small creatures that abound in those environments. Be sure to remember sunscreen for your Aspie's sensitive skin, and yours too!
Get off this computer, get outside, get active and have fun with your family today!

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