Bottom Line Up Front: Every parent imagines their child playing sports at some point in their lives while growing up. It could be football, soccer, baseball, dance or even cheerleading. Nothing changes that, and most still try no matter the obstacles they face. I have to admit, I had my doubts when Carter was younger, but we still tried to see if he would enjoy some sort of sport. We came to an understanding that football might not be the best option with a large shunt in his head, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t try tee-ball. So we did.
So, before we start our important tips about autism and sports, we want to state from the beginning that Carter no longer plays sports. Not because he cannot, or it being to dangerous, but mainly because he just doesn’t want to. He prefers technology and books, and why would we be the ones that force him to do things outside of his Carter zone. If the dude wants to be the future Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, then it is our job as parents to acknowledge his interests and push him to strive in aspects he enjoys.
Now on to the 5 Most Important Tips About Autism and Sports. If you enjoyed this post, go ahead and subscribe now before you forget. Also comment additional tips below for other readers that can learn from your two cents.
When Carter started tee-ball, we just knew he was going to love it and would want to keep coming back every week. I was even the super excited dad that was an assistant coach out there every practice just getting my ball coach on. This ended up with me standing in the outfield to ensure Carter didn’t run at runners or off the field away from everyone else. After three games, we realized Carter just wasn’t as excited about playing tee-ball as we were.
We have reached a point in our life that we just don’t care about what others think about us or our children. Carter has a pretty big scar down the back of his head, and people like to stare at things they don’t often see. You should see their face when you tell them it was a hatchet accident, and then after the shock you explain he had a brain tumor at 2 instead. Carter hated playing ball, but there was this one moment that he hit the tee-ball one time and the fans erupted. He got so excited and ran all over the place and laughed and laughed. All of the people watching made it so fun for him with all of there cheering, it was great. Those 10 seconds made all of the turmoil, coaxing, and crying worth every minute.
Although it is nobody’s business about your child, I feel to a certain point that conversations with the other parents about your child can ensure for a better outcome for them. Most of the parents understood from the beginning about Carter man, with his stemming, scar, and plastic tube running down the inside of his neck. However, we wanted to make sure the right picture was painted to them, and that they would understand when Carter had a meltdown or didn’t participate.
We are so glad we took the chance and let Carter try out tee-ball. We learned so much about him during that experience, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. We could be sitting back everyday wondering if we were hindering our child, instead we learned his likes and dislikes, and what outside components push him to his limits.
You are the parent, and you know what is best. Don’t assume the risk isn’t there and that others will know limitations for your child. Don’t be afraid to step up and speak on behalf of your child. If they don’t want to listen, bring the house down until they do. Certain drills may be too dangerous for your child to do, and make sure the coach knows that from the beginning. For instance, they wanted our kids to run really far away from the parents and touch the tree line and come back to work on conditioning. We know that Carter will not turn around and come back, but keep on going and explore. When I say far, I mean it was pretty far. So when I offered to go stand at the tree line to turn him around, they didn’t want favoritism to occur. Well, I am sure you know how that ended. Leaving out the long details, I ended up at the tree line.
There are a ton of other tips that can be thrown on here, but these are the 5 most important ones to us. Feel free to share your thoughts below and what other tips you think should have made the list.