Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stay Fit while Getting Centered

“What happened to Tristan yesterday?” asked his case manager at school. 

I tilted my head with a dash of confusion and slight terror as Tristan has gotten himself into some tricky social situations recently and said, “What do you mean?” 

As her eyes widened, she said, “Well, Tristan was so focused during our sessions today.  No flopping on the floor or fidgeting in his seat.”

Suddenly I knew what she was talking about; Tristan had swum the night before.  Not dawdling around the pool with us, but swim team.  Seventy-five minutes of working on strokes and swimming laps. 

Often kids on the spectrum (my kid included) prefer play a video game to getting their heart pumping.  The rules can be difficult to follow and interacting with peers— well, is tough and most youth activities that keep you “lean and cute” are team sports.  All kids (rather all people) need regular exercise to stay healthy mentally and physically, so here is a list of some sports/activities that kids on the spectrum have enjoyed:

·        Swimming:  Try a local non-competitive swim team to learn different stokes and to get your body moving.
·        Ice Skating:  Take a US Figure Skating group lesson.  Some kids love the gliding on the ice and feeling the wind on their faces.
·        Downhill Skiing: Again the wind on the face is loved by all that crave sensory stimulation.  Schedule a private lesson on a beginner slope to learn how-to turn and stop.
·        Biking:  Once you get the technique down, biking can be freedom while working your muscles.
·        Martial Arts:  Discipline and moving your body are pieces to martial arts.
·        Quidditch:  This is a team game, but for Harry Potter fans (like Tristan) it can be trilling.  Check your local Parks and Recreation for Quidditch teams in your area.

Last tip:  inform the instructor that your child has autism and tell them how best your child learns or what to do with unwanted behaviors.  Remember they might not know what autism is or how to help your child, so give them some clues and help.

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