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Team Sports Can Help Kids with ADHD

Team sports can help your children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), especially with their social interaction among their teammates. It will be teamwork with the coach, parents, and kids themselves, but the results will be wonderful when they can integrate with the rest of the team.

A coach will be the backbone of a kid with ADHD that want to practice a team sport, keep in mind that the coach will also need your help as a parent, so be the best supporter who is always going to be there for them. You need to understand that maybe a sport could be overwhelming but with your love and the coach’s guidance, it could be an experience to remember or their future professional career.

Coach and parents: follow the next points!

  • Never humiliate a child: if you want kids with ADHD to improve their social interactions, NEVER punish them. For the trainers is normal to punish their athletes, like running 30 laps if a play goes wrong, but with ADHD that doesn’t work. It would be better to talk with the kids and pair them with a buddy that will help with the plays and routine inside the practices. That way, both parents and coaches can help to nurture their social interactions.

  • Drill all that you can: kids with ADHD get bored quickly, so change your practice routines and push them to move around until they get exhausted. Parents can work with the coach a routine at home, to help to burn that energy and keep up with practices.

  • Go one-on-one: kids with this condition struggle with group directions, but if the parents take time to explain the coach, and together make a new plan for directions, everything will go incredibly.

  • Do a double-check: as a parent you know that your kids will need more attention, so ask the trainer to make a casual conversation with them alone, that way he will know if they fully understand the practices and the instructions. Because, if the child feels disengaged or confused, could lead to a communication breakdown, and parents and coaches would have to work hard on that situation.

  • Win or lose as a team: kids with ADHD will take too serious winning or losing, so teach them that you lose or win as a team, that a game is a team effort, and never will be their fault because they have ADHD. This is known as sportsmanship values and can be instructed in all the players.

  • Make them know the game well: kids need to burn out all that energy, so move the player around, teach them all the positions and plays, so that the little ones will feel integrated with the team. And parents, practice with your kids those positions and plays, so they will be excited to return to practices.

  • Excitement: kids with ADHD get over excited with the action of a game, forgetting about teamwork and strategies, and that can cause the loss of the team, so parents help the coach to be ready for this, and get the excitement to a normal level.

  • Make a resting plan: when they get overwhelmed and tired, it would be great to let them rest, so design with the trainer a resting plan, inside the practices and in real games. That way your kid won’t be exhausted and down.

  • Enroll them young: kids with ADHD tend to think and act socially and emotionally younger than their age, so paired them with a group one or two years younger probably would be the best.

  • Think in the best: please ask the coach to evaluate your children to know what is the best position, and best course of action for them, that way the coach will be looking for those strengths, that way both of you can look out for the child.

Remember that coaches can make an impact on a child life, they can change how the child sees itself, so make them your best ally in this new step on your child life. They can help children with ADHD to learn that they have a value as a member of the team, and inclusive can define their future career, with your help and guidance, of course. So, let your kid try a team sport and see the differences at the beginning and after a time practicing it. Come to Autism Soccer and get the right opportunities for your children, learn more about team sports and make them happy.

Team sports improve kids' lives.

Improve the life of kids with ADHD using team sports.

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ASD and ADHD Advantages in Sports

The ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) shouldn’t be a limitation, neither the ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Every person that deals with these disorders will tell you that even if it’s a difficult road to go through, it hasn’t stopped them from being professionals or from having a regular life. Some studies show the cons of these conditions while practicing or playing in professional circles or just for fun.

But when it comes to reality, it’s precisely the opposite. Kids within these spectrums will put all their effort and focus on the practices and games. Some sports work better with each one of the different disorders, and as a parent, you need to encourage your child to that perfect match, and never break his illusion to practice a sport. There are many examples of athletes that have a brilliant career in their preferred sport while living within a spectrum.

Advantages of ADHD

  • It doesn’t require intense concentration: many sports need short bouts of attention (15 seconds approximately), like swimming, or shorts shifts during the game, like hockey or soccer.
  • Heighten awareness of environment: because of their short attention, they take in care all the details of their environments. That’s why they will take great consideration in every aspect of the sport, and every team colleague.
  • Ability to do well under pressure: a regular kid will fight and get tired of the pressure, but a kid with ADHD works perfectly with it. They like to be active every minute of the day, and they will feel comfortable with all the heavy training and agendas, just keep your kid for straining too much.
  • Ability to do well in chaos: football could be a mess, and a regular kid will find it strange, but an ADHD kid will find it attractive, they love to fix problems and chaos. They develop well in these environments, so maybe your child could be the next famous quarterback.
  • Unique/creative problem solving: a kid with ADHD needs a routine, but they love the creative ones! A sport can give it to them, and the only problem can be that the coach needs to be prepared to change the routines every few months, so the kid doesn’t get bored. Put them in the most difficult and demanding practices, and they will get a unique way to face them. That’s why strategies sports are the best in this case.
  • Quick speed/reaction time: swimming and hockey are sports that need speed and quick reactions, and kids with ADHD can develop these characteristics and honed them for their advantages. Michael Phelps is a good example.
  • Lack of concern about losing at the moment: ADHD kids won’t need the feel of victory at the beginning, so while they become the best in that sport, they will only enjoy the rush and adrenaline of playing a sport.

Advantages of ASD

  • Over-focusing on technical aspects: every sport is very technical. Kids with ASD, especially Asperger, will put all their effort to learn the rules and the techniques, and possible they could get a perfectionist streak, that could be dangerous in certain situations. However, that’s what will make them the best in their fields. Clay Marzo is a living proof of this.
  • Practicing for a longer time: what respectable coach doesn’t want their athletes to practice 24/7? And ASD brings them to that fine line between being good with the practice and being a monster with only one thought: to be the best. ASD athletes’ coaches need to be very synchronized with their athletes’ needs before they burn themselves.
  • Hyperfocusing when necessary: every athlete needs to have complete concentration, but ASD athletes manage this as an art, and it’s very natural for them. A pitcher with a full count, a quarterback facing a disaster game, a soccer player with penalty definition, and even quiet sports like chess or archery will need a total concentration. Kids with ASD will use their hyper-focusing to face these situations.
  • Greater ability to stay calm due to having less emotional responses: ASD kids don’t show emotions as regular kids do, so when practicing sports they will never have to be worried about feelings. They face the games or competitions with a cold mind, and even if they lose, they will move on to the next target on the list.

Kids with ASD and ADHD could be the best athletes out there. They just need the correct people around, the right motivation, and the best encouragement; that way they could have a fantastic career and make their countries and family proud. Come to Autism Soccer and get the right opportunities for your children, keep in touch with us through our social networks, to find more articles and special topics.

Sports are helping kids with autism spectrum.

Living with ASD and ADHD could be less frightening when sports are involved.

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Top Five Athletes on the Autism Spectrum

The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is hard. You might feel like your kid won’t have all the opportunities that the future can offer a neurotypical child. However, living with autism shouldn’t be a limitation for your child! Children are allowed to play and have fun with their peers, a kid with autism is not an exception. They could find a sport that catches their attention; your duty as a parent is to encourage them to pursue that sport. Why? Because even with autism they are capable of having a professional career as athletes.

These five athletes can show you and your kid what is like to be a professional athlete, and living in the autism spectrum at the same time. All of them agreed on one thing: their sports were one way to work with their diagnosis and focus on overcoming their problems, especially social relationships. So, read these amazing stories and show your kids what they can achieve.

Meet the athletes!

 

Clay Marzo: surfing is life for Marzo. As many kids within the spectrum, his Asperger diagnosis didn’t appear until he was 18 years old. At the beginning it was ADHD, then dyslexia, then learning disability, and finally Asperger. But that didn’t stop him from jumping on the surfboard and enjoying the life in water. Now Clay is 29 and feels more confident facing the waves than facing people on land. He still has problems with social interaction, simple conversations and maintaining eye contact, but that is just smaller problems, surfing is what he needs and what he seeks, “Out of the water, he is not comfortable, even today. In the water, it’s like he can breathe,” said his mother, Jill.

Dealing with Asperger hasn’t been a limitation, he is one of the best free surfers in the world, has many sponsors as Quicksilver, Skullcandy, DC Shoes, and others. Marzo is well known as being painfully honest, but intuitive and expressive in the water. His surfing style is so innovative, that is impossible not to look at him when he is competing. Marzo also volunteers at Surfers Healing, a non-profit organization that helps kids with autism spectrum in surfing camps. As he mentions it, teaching surf to children like him has been an amazing experience.

Tommy Des Brisay: autism spectrum hasn’t stopped Tommy to run as faster as he can. He wants to be part of Canada’s Paralympic Team for Tokyo 2020, that is his dream and major goal. He was diagnosed when he was 2 years old and was very active especially in the physical aspect, but when turned 5 he still hadn’t spoken a single word. The experts told his parents that he maybe wouldn’t talk at all, but slowly he began to write and read until he finally said his first words at 8 years old. Disney’s movies have been his passion and are helping him with communication skills. As a huge fan of Disney, he felt happy in the Disney Parks.

Tommy started to run at age 14, two years later he joined the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club. They help him with his every need and have been his principal supporters in his professional career. He has won many field, track, and cross country races, and now he is aspiring to get the mark and participate and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Summer Games; he also practices ski, kayak, and rock climbing because he likes to be active. As he said: “I’m going to be the first fastest runner in the world!” Autism hasn’t stopped Tommy running style.

Michael Phelps: perhaps the most famous swimmer in the world, and most condecorated Olympic medalist. But, do you know that he suffers ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Yes, at age 9, Michael was diagnosed with this disorder. His mom, Debbie, explained that it was a heartbreaking notice because people around him considered the diagnosis as a limitation. They said that he won’t be able to achieve anything in his life, but Debbie and Michael, his father, fought hard to make him focus at school. Debbie, as a teacher, conceived several techniques to make him concentrate even with the hard subjects; an example: she said to his math teacher to make the class problems around swimming, so he was finding school entertaining.

ADHD wasn’t a limitation for him; instead made him focus in the swimming races because they are short and quick, and that was exactly what he needed at that time. Swimming makes him happy, and he knows everything his mom did to help him, so through his foundation The Michael Phelps Foundation, he tries to use those experience to help kids to learn how to swim. And his mom uses what she learned while raising Michael, at her school where she is the principal in Maryland, it doesn’t matter if the kid suffers or not of ADHD. Michael’s story is an inspiration for everyone, kids and parents as well.

Jessica-Jane Applegate: this 22 years old girl has to deal with living with ASD in Great Britain, but her mom, as Phelps’s mom, realized that she was happy and more focus in the water, so she encouraged her daughter to pursue a professional career in swimming, and now she is one of the best female Paralympic swimmers of the world. She has 24 medals, many British, Paralympic and world records, and a promising future in the swimming world competition. She was the first British athlete with ASD to win gold at the London 2012 Paralympics Games.

In 2013, Jessica was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her contributions to swimming, by the Queen. As she said in an interview, she won’t let her limits restrain her: “In training/competition there are very few people who really understand how hard it is for me. I really struggle to cope with people socially. I don’t like any changes and trying to concentrate on more than one thing is so difficult, but my coach is very understanding. We have a timetable for everything, so I have a good routine, we make plans to keep calm and we always have a backup plan so I feel safe.”

Cammi Granato: she is a particular case, because she lived all her life, and part of her professional career, without knowing about her condition. It wasn’t until 2003 that she heard about ADHD, and realized that the symptoms could be her behavior. After a visit to the doctor, she was diagnosed with it. Granato says that growing up with six siblings is the reason behind being blind about the disorder; her behavior was normal with all the disaster in her house. However, with her hockey career making her famous, after winning a gold medal in the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics, with USA Hockey Olympic Team, she finds herself in a mess.

“My life began spinning out of control,” said the Illinois native, who is now 47. “The number of voice messages and emails I received became overwhelming, I couldn’t return them all. My bills didn’t get paid. My house was a mess. I bought every anti-clutter book out there, but they just became part of the clutter.” Her diagnosis was her salvation, now she deals with her life in a normal way, and put all the energy that ADHD gives her into her job as a sportscaster, “Though I wasn’t playing, I found myself feeling all the highs and lows of the game,” she says. “It was nice to still feel that. I may never be the best sportscaster out there, but life isn’t about being the best, with or without ADHD. It’s about meeting challenges and doing the best job you can. ADHD comes with certain strengths and weaknesses that have made me who I am, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Being diagnosed with ASD or ADHD must not be a limit for your kids to reach a dream career in a sport. Encourage them to pursue their dreams, make them put all their efforts and energies in the practices and games, and you will see the results very soon. Just remember to be there for them, and try to understand what they are trying to communicate, above all.

Autism won't stop your love for sports.

Jessica’s love for swimming is bigger than living with Asperger.

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How to Educate a Neurotypical Sibling?

No one prepared the parents of children with autism, nobody noticed or warned that the arrival of a child with ASD could be possible. So the education to raise our child with autism and our neurotypical child at the same time has been learned, after overcoming frustrations, book readings, training, patience, and a lot of creativity.

One of the most complex issues that parents face when it comes to educating children is to decide which pedagogical project or which educational line to choose. And things get even more complicated when you have to educate more than one child because the surprise is that there are no two children alike, and they never respond in the same way to the methods that already worked successfully in previous cases.

What to do when there’s a neurotypical sibling?

Imagine then what happens when one of the brothers requires somewhat peculiar educational methods. Educational methods that can’t be learned either from one’s own experience, from reflection during pregnancy, or from reading the books of preparation to be perfect parents of programmable children to respond accurately to each of the options.

In the case that a child with autism has neurotypical siblings, the situation may show clear divergences in the treatment given to the children. So, the question that parents should ask is: what to do when my child with autism needs certain strategies to learn but also does my neurotypical child?

How to integrate neurotypical and ASD children

When you have more than one child, and one of them has autism, there are two possible cases: the neurotypical being the firstborn or the child with autism being the firstborn. Let’s see:

  • If the first child has autism, and the parents have set to work, the second child arrives at a home where the pictograms and social stories are the order of the day. The second child simply learns to live like this, and in any case, it’s the parents who must re-practice a more relaxed and natural form of communication.

  • If the first child doesn’t have autism, and the parents already believe they have found the most appropriate educational method. In that case, it may become more difficult to integrate the older child into all those changes that occur in the dynamics of the family. Well for them, that looks like a great injustice. If they used to go out to any big party, why can’t they go now? If before spontaneously decided to go to the movies, to the circus, to the beach, why should we now live with an iron agenda that dictates our life?

Activities

We have to become accustomed to the normal jealousy of the children, to the competitiveness between brothers; but we need to change life and family dynamics for the new member of the family.

In a family, all members should know that they are part of a team and that they should be helping, supporting and waiting for others, when it’s necessary. Therefore, each of the members must have their spaces of freedom, and in the family as a whole should accommodate some dynamic and integration activities:

  • Days of games at home.
  • Family pajama parties.
  • Day of cooking, where the whole family participates in making meals.
  • Conversations where one of the parents is combined with one of the children, to maintain the family agenda without losing neither the spontaneity nor the multitudinous socialization.
  • Bread a weekly routine, where they have vacations, free days, family life. Activities and family time that will help them not to lose the energy of everyone. And so it allows the siblings of children with autism to develop and feel that they are listened to and taken into account, which they need.

 

Maintaining two lines of education can often be stressful, and above all frustrating for everyone, but with love, patience, and unity everything will be easier.

While neuroatypical children take energy and time, neurotypical children also have needs that require fulfillment from their parents and caretakers.

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Back to School: How to Help Your Child with Their New School Year

The school is an environment that encourages and helps the development and social adaptability of our children, but it can turn out to be a tense environment, with excess stimuli and provoking disruptive behaviors if we don’t pay attention to specific details. Parents of children with autism need to take into account general issues when preparing the children to go back to school. It’s not just about taking them and leaving them there, it’s about taking them to a place where they will be happy, and they will learn.

Tips for back to school

Communication with the teaching team (principals and teachers) is essential for a proper school experience process. Before returning to school, it’s advisable to have a meeting with your teachers and the school guidance team (pedagogical team).

It’s important to know the general project and the type of activities that we’ll have for our child; whether it’s inclusion or integration. There may also be plans to work individually and in a different environment of your classroom on some specific topics.

If the professionals involved in your child’s treatment have written instructions to apply in the school context, you should immediately inform the school. Thus the general project of the school year is modified according to the particular needs that arise.

In the meeting you make with the pedagogical team, it’s recommended that you comment on the needs or other relevant subjects that are necessary to share, such as:

  • What does the child like.
  • What subjects attract the attention and which ones don’t.
  • How to maintain or recover the child’s attention.
  • What situations can disorganize the child behaviorally, and how to recover it.
  • What can he eat and what can not.
  • Associated health problems.
  • Expose the areas of strength and areas that require support. A summary of the previous school year is very valuable.

Prepare the child

The school and teachers need to prepare to receive the child with autism, regardless of their adaptive level and academic performance. But it’s also necessary to prepare our child for the return to school, for this it’s advisable to take into account some things:

  • Have conversations with him about the school.
  • Visit previously the school where the child is going to study.
  • Make social stories about returning to school, with graphic media, toys or simulations of school activities.
  • The holidays are always out of control of the sleep schedule, so to begin to establish a schedule to sleep and wake up is fundamental.

The return to school is an activity that we must prepare with a special dedication.

Our child must be happy and safe at school.

Learning what makes your child happy in the academic sense is fundamental to help them reach their success in their school year.

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The Real Parental Responsibility When It Comes to Schooling

Many parents assume that teaching is a responsibility that belongs solely to schools, so teachers are perceived as the only ones with a say in the matter of education. But this is not the case: the people responsible for what children learn are first and foremost the parents or caretakers since they are the ones who model their behaviors as lessons for their children.

Today we give you some information about the role of parents and their responsibility in the continued education of children outside of the classroom, and the importance of reinforcement of lessons at home. Keep reading!

Parent’s responsibility in the education of children

The first educators of children are the adults at home. Children learn by observing their parents, these model their behavior by showing them how to act. Later, learning is done at school where teachers and classmates are other important influences.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder learn much more quickly through interactive, visual, and auditory strategies. They also learn by observing and taking behavioral cues from the people they consider their role models. It is necessary to emphasize here, how vital the commitment of the parents to the education of their children is. Ensure good education via example.

Learning for children with autism is a combination of two teaching scenarios, parenting, and schooling. Although both environments are fundamental for their development, the responsibility falls primarily on the parents.

Children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) learn at their own pace and with different teaching techniques and strategies. While it is true that teachers must be adequately prepared to help them in the learning process, parents are required to assume the more prominent role.

What is the main responsibility of parents when it comes to continued schooling?

  • Reinforcing lessons from school.
  • Acting according to the lessons they give their children; being coherent with actions and words.
  • Speaking to children about positive attitudes when it comes to school and homework.
  • Doing homework with them, and guiding them through it, but not doing the work for them.
  • Listening to their feedback on lessons.
  • Asking pertinent questions: How was your day? What did you learn today? What was your favorite lesson? And so on.
  • Requesting feedback from teachers from time to time.
  • Further encouraging them to participate in activities that are appealing and instructive to them.

Parents collaborate with this process by asking for a follow-up to certain tasks, practicing lessons with their children at home, maintaining good communication lines with their teachers, educating themselves on different subjects to better know how to help. In this way, they can work in unity with the educators to whom total responsibility has been assigned. With the help of a sport, children can grow with a positive and proactive attitude towards school in general!

Make sure to contact us to know more about our project, Autism Soccer.

If we work together, we will see great changes in our children.

It’s much more than taking them to and from, it’s hands-on in the process of learning.

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Teach Your Child to Play

The game is one of the forms that the human being has of self-expression and self-exploration. Fundamental in the structuring of children’s thinking, the construction of language, and the objective representation of reality.

The game contributes to the development by providing the child with a sense of mastery over their own body and the environment.

Autism and games

Games can stimulate different skills, such as:

  • Social: the child learns to relate to others. Also through the game the child gets knowledge of cultural norms.
  • Motor, sensory and perception: the sensory and motor activity teaches the child the capabilities and limitations of his own body and the world around him. Besides, the activities produce a release of excessive energy, restoring the corporal equilibrium freeing the child to initiate new tasks.
  • Emotional: the game gives the child the power to express their feelings without fear of punishment and helps them learn to control their frustrations and impulses. This control provides self-confidence and potential adaptation to future needs. The game is fun, opens a world of joy, humor, and creativity.
  • Cognitive: the child learns to manipulate events and objects in the internal and external environment.

Children with ASD have few interests, tendencies to repeat tasks, and present numerous self-stimulations.

To your child with ASD:

  • Make you enjoy more experiences.
  • Find new activities.
  • Teach him to identify the cause of things.
  • Organizes short cycle activities giving them a functional use.

By carrying out guided activities your child will be able to:

  • Improve the attention.
  • Learn how to use objects and toys.
  • Your behavior will improve.
  • It will increase your self-esteem through success in group activities.

 

Motivate your child and teach him to play, this will bring many benefits for him.

At Autism Soccer, we have educational learning programs for your child with soccer sessions for more personal development.

The game contributes to the development by providing the child with a sense of mastery over his own body and the environment.

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