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Sports are ideal for children with autism. Here is how.

January 18, 2019

Sports and recreation play an important role in the development of children with autism. They help build physical and mental strength, endurance and determination in children. Since each child is unique in their diagnosis, their requirements also vary. Hence, parents must look out for the ideal sports that can help their child.

Try and get your child to participate in more team sport activities. Sports activities that involve consideration, communication, compassion, cooperation and connection which will benefit children with autism.

Any sport that helps in the sensory development is ideal for children with autism. Parents and therapists must look out for the requirements of the child. I have seen children benefiting from roller skating and swimming because it creates better body awareness. Cycling is also a great sport. Try and introduce your child to horse riding as well-Vanitha S Rao, Founder, Sunshine Autism Centre, Bengaluru.

Here are some of the ideal sports for children with autism

  • Swimming- Sensory integration is pivotal for children with autism. So anything that helps to develop it is good for the child. In fact, experts point out that water is a therapy for children with autism. So you can introduce your child to a pool where they get to put their feet in water and get to know that great feeling. As parents, you must ensure that your child gets training from experts because most children with autism tend to wander around in the pool that can be extremely dangerous. Also, parents must keep a look out for their child when they are inside the pool.
  • Running- We all know that running is one of the best physical activities for children and adults. Track and fields are great work outs for the whole body. Apart from helping in better breathing, running makes your lungs stronger, maintains cholesterol levels and strengthens the heart. Chances of obesity and diabetes are also lesser. It also helps to improve their muscle development and coordination. Autism children tend to be hyperactive, aggressive and destructive. Running can also help them control all that.
  • Martial Arts- Benefits of martial arts like taekwondo, karate or judo are many. When a child with autism enrols for martial arts classes, they get to socialise with other children. Since children with autism lack social skills, this is a great way to bond with peers. Not to mention the mental and physical benefits that martial arts provide. Nowadays, parents are introducing their children with autism to novel and innovative methods to enhance their social and motor skills. Undoubtedly, martial arts are one of them.
  • Bowling- So if your child is not in a mood to try out a new sport outdoors, introduce them to bowling that can be done indoors. Today, most of the renowned malls have exclusive bowling centres. You can take them there on a weekday when the crowd is lesser. So your child can make full use of the facility. Bowling helps in better body coordination for children with autism.

"I believe that outdoor activities of any kind will help children with autism. Basically, they must interact with other children and get to spend more time with peers. It is important that the parent is around so that they can constantly keep communicating to the child", says Nithya Gopalakrishnan, Founder of Mridulasparsham School in Kochi.

ALSO READ: Interacting with an adult who has autism can be easy and fun. Here is how.

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