Although all kids are different, I will share with you my views on sports and kids with special needs.
If your child is having difficulties socially in school, you may be tempted to sign him or her up for basketball or soccer with the other kids. Just make sure that the team sports is one in which is ran by a coach which specializes in unique and special needs. There ARE wonderful coaches. Coaches who understand the impact they have upon children and make sure that it is positive. And, of course, there are special camps and organization with coaches trained in encouraging and training special needs kids.
You know your child better than anyone. Just be sure that you’re setting your child up for a positive, rather than a negative experience.
The things I have heard from Coaches about kids on their team would make you spit nails.
“Oh, he’s an awful player. He’s got some kind of disorder or something.”
“I hope he doesn’t sign up next year.”
And, the parents in the stands are just as bad.
“What is wrong with that kid?!”
“Put him on the bench.”
And, that was all heard in reference to kids in the regular 3rd – 6th grade classes. I know. It made me sick, too.
Now, I’m not at all saying that team sports should be avoided. Just make sure you know who will be coaching your child, and make sure that he or she is someone who you want in charge of your child’s self-esteem for the next few months.
However, if team sports are not your child’s strong suit and he or she gets very stressed or has that “lost” look while participating, then here are some alternatives:
Camping as a family
Going on Long Walks with You
Bike Riding (go on bike trails if you are concerned about safety)
Going to the Park (just being a kid!)
Karate (again, make sure the people in charge of the facility are warm, loving, patient people, before signing on the dotted line)
Each of these activities will help strengthen your child physically and give him or her the benefits of self-confidence as well.
Yes, all kids need to be physically active, but at what cost? Surely not at the cost of feeling like they aren’t good enough. Don’t feel pressured into pushing your child into a team sport that may do more harm than good.