On Sunday, October 30, 2016 the American Autism Association will be hosting our third #AutismGoals: Special Needs Soccer Clinic at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens. Athletic therapy, and soccer in particular, have a number of benefits to aid in developing motor, communication, social, and cognitive functioning. Here are ten ways in which soccer can help your child…
1. Refines Motor Skills:
It is common for individuals with autism to experience difficulty with motor skills. Through soccer, maneuvering the ball and practicing different techniques can greatly improve their endurance, coordination, and strength.
2. Improves communication:
Soccer is a team sport; therefore the key to doing well is to communicate with your teammates. Soccer can help build the skills required for communication through playing and interacting with other individuals in a natural environment.
With every sport, you either win or lose. Soccer can teach individuals with autism to have fun no matter what they end score is.
4. Social Interaction:
For individuals on the spectrum, social interactions can often times be a little more challenging. Soccer can increase social interaction as the child works with an instructor, a therapist, or other individuals involved in the program. Soccer can give a positive experience with a sport, and can also help seek out lifelong friendships while learning how to take turns and partake in socially appropriate behaviors.
5. Behavior Management:
Behavior can be a big struggle for any family that has a individual with autism. An organized sport, like soccer, can improve their behavior because they have to practice listening to their instructor. Instructors use positive language to let your family member know what they can and can’t do, and give them a structured routine.
6. Structured Play:
Soccer can be a fun outlet that allows one to relax and have some fun after a long day. It provides fun, while providing a structured play to have fun in a controlled setting.
7. Self-Esteem Booster:
Any individual, whether they have autism or not, gains confidence once they have mastered a skill or performed well in it. This is especially important for an individual with autism to gain confidence. In addition, self-esteem improves happiness.
8. Provides Them with an Interest:
By participating in soccer, one will take up an interest in it, or maybe they won’t but they will get an idea of what they like or don’t like. This will help them figure out what their hobbies and interests are in the future.
9. Improves Physical Fitness:
Soccer is a physically active sport, which is good for any individual. Its especially beneficial for individuals with autism because studies show that physical activity can ease repetitive behaviors and increase attention span.
10. Improves Auditory Processing:
By listening to the soccer instructors’ clear and simple instructions about how to perform a technique, will greatly improve their ability to follow directions, which in turn will improve their auditory processing.
Don’t forget to register for #AutismGoals here!