Teaching Your Autistic Child Basketball

Basketball is a great sport for kids to play. It is safer, requires less physical prowess and is less complex than many other sports. It is true that it requires some depth perception and height is a key benefit, but it is a great choice at early ages, and giving your child the experience of playing a sport will be a memory they keep forever.

It is very common for autistic children to have little interest in sports related activities, for example, basketball. When they are very young, they often start out with some interest, and will join a basketball team. After some time, the child may loose interest in venturing out on to the basketball court, or eventually may not want to attend practices or games at all.

This can be very frustrating to parents, especially fathers or grandfathers that have fond memories of playing basketball and the life-long friendships they made being part of a team.

It is still possible for many autistic children, especially aspergers type, to have an interest and play basketball. What is important is that you do not have expectations that your child is going to follow of the traditional rules and expectations that most children do when joining a basketball team and learning the game.

In fact, you may have to consider strictly recreational non-team style play. If your child is not able to follow and focus on the instructions, and is not responding well to the coach or other players, it may be time to consider going a different route. It is much more important that your child is happy and feels accepted, especially by the parents than you being happy that your child is part of a basketball team.

If you find that the team style basketball play is not working, consider having a regular play at home, or at a local park. Be sure to give your child some time away from the sport before doing this as it may not be received well.

When your child starts to show some interest, be sure to keep things free-form. Do not worry about all the rules, skills, techniques and such. It is important to simply have the child enjoy the time spent with you, which happens to also be time spent holding and hopefully throwing a basketball.

You might simply try passing the ball back and fourth. Possibly bouncing the ball off a wall. Make some fun games such as try to dribble the ball three times in a row – if you succeed, the parent has to jump around like a silly frog!

Later you can slowly add little modifications such as a tip on how to pass the ball, or where to aim when throwing the ball for a layup. Again, take it slowly, and always make it positive. If you add criticism, or lots of rules, it is very likely your autistic child will loose interest quickly, and in fact may resent the sport completely.

Source by John Smitty

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