Let’s Get Moving! Keeping our kids active, healthy and engaged.
By Holly Bortfeld
Kids with ASD need more opportunities to be out and about than their peers because it gives them a break from therapy, but still engages them; it gives them much needed exercise; a view into the real world (instead of being locked in their own); and it keeps the family from being segregated from their community which is very common and potentially very dangerous long-term. Isolating the family results in more and more stress, which exercise and outings can help alleviate. Even if you just take a walk together after dinner, it gets everyone out of the house and keeps you healthy. Fortunately, there are many sports, programs and activities geared towards, or inclusive of people with ASD. Check out some of the great things our kids do!
Special Olympics has most of the following (and some other) sports and/or can refer you to other local sports and activities to fit your child.
Horseback Riding (aka Hippotherapy)
Find a local program at: http://www.pathintl.org/
There is no national org for Martial Arts programs so you can just Google search "special needs martial arts" and your city and state to find a local program.
There is no national org for special needs basketball programs so you can just Google search “special needs basketball” and your city and state to find a local program.
To find a local program email the SE Regional Director of USASF at firstname.lastname@example.org
Baseball, T-Ball and Softball
To find a local group, see http://www.littleleague.org/learn/about/divisions/challenger.htm and http://www.buddyball.net/
Special Olympics offers bowling nationally and/or can refer you to other local programs.
To find a local program email the SE Regional Director of USASF at email@example.com or just Google search “special needs dance” and your city and state to find a local program.
To find a local group, see americanspecialhockey.org/
Surfer's Healing holds clinics up and down both coasts www.surfershealing.org
To find a local program, contact http://www.askate.org/ or contact a local skateboard park, they will know if there are any near you.
To find a location program, go to http://www.dsusa.org/.
Find a local program to help teach your child to ride a bicycle at http://icanshine.org/
To find a local program near you, see http://www.specialpopstennis.com/ or http://www.eastern.usta.com/Special-Needs/19917_Adaptive_Tennis/
Other activities that get our kids moving
Adaptive Curling http://www.fortwaynecurling.com/about_us.html and http://www.drewumc.org/KIDS%20FOR%20CURLING.html
Boy Scouts - http://www.scouting.org/ hosts Pinewood Derby and has many inclusive activities for kids with special needs. Girl Scouts also has many inclusive activities for kids with special needs.http://www.girlscouts.org/
More ideas at: Teens with ASD: Extracurricular Activities/
If you know of more national orgs for these or other special needs programs, please let us know.