Let’s Get Moving! Keeping our kids active, healthy and engaged.

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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.
 

Swimming

To find a local swimming program, start with NAA's list of programs by state, your local YMCA/YWCA, autism support group or Google to find a special needs swim instructor.

Ryan swimming
Ryan swimming

Rosie swimming
Rosie swimming

Jeff swimming
Jeff swimming

Hunter swimming
Hunter swimming

Kiera Swimming
Kiera Swimming

Eric swimming
Eric swimming


Horseback Riding (aka Hippotherapy)

Find a local program at: http://www.pathintl.org/

Hunter on Horseback
Hunter on Horseback

Max on Horseback
Max on Horseback

 Kiera on Horseback
Kiera on Horseback

Ryan on Horseback
Ryan on Horseback

 Sam on Horseback
Sam on Horseback

Vico on Horseback
Vico on Horseback

Timmy on Horseback
Timmy on Horseback

Jake on Horseback
Jake on Horseback


Martial Arts

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.

Brendan doing Karate
Brendan doing Karate

Calvin doing Karate
Calvin doing Karate

Quinn doing Jiu Jitsu
Quinn doing Jiu Jitsu

Zach doing Taekwondo
Zach doing Taekwondo


Soccer

To find a local group, see http://e-soccer.org/, http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/programs/topsoccer/ and http://ayso.org

Timmy at Soccer
Timmy at Soccer

Leo at Soccer
Leo at Soccer

mikey soccer
Mikey at soccer


Basketball

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.

Timmy playing Basketball
Timmy playing Basketball

 

 


Cheerleading

To find a local program email the SE Regional Director of USASF at glenda@usasf.net

Jordyn Cheerleading
Jordyn Cheerleading

 


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/

Aiden at BuddyBall
Aiden at BuddyBall

RJ at TBall
RJ at TBall

Ryan at softball
Ryan at softball

mikey baseball
Mikey at Baseball


Bowling

Special Olympics offers bowling nationally and/or can refer you to other local programs.

Charlie Bowling
Charlie Bowling

Parker Bowling
Parker Bowling

Zack bowling
Zack bowling

 


Dance

To find a local program email the SE Regional Director of USASF at glenda@usasf.net or just Google search “special needs dance” and your city and state to find a local program.

Brooke at Dance
Brooke at Dance

 

 

 

 


Hockey

To find a local group, see americanspecialhockey.org/

Calvin playing Hockey
Calvin playing Hockey

Rob playing Hockey
Rob playing Hockey

 


Ice Skating

To find a local group, see US Figure Skating Basic Skills program locator, Ice Skating Institute rink finder or contact your local parks and rec department or ice rink.

Ethan Skating
Ethan Skating

Mara Skating
Mara Skating

 


Surfing

Surfer's Healing holds clinics up and down both coasts www.surfershealing.org

Cormac Surfing
Cormac Surfing

Kiera Surfing
Kiera Surfing

Austin Surfing
Austin Surfing

Ryan Surfing
Ryan Surfing

Timmy Surfing
Timmy Surfing

 


Skateboarding

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.

Ryan Skateboarding
Ryan Skateboarding

 


Skiing

To find a location program, go to http://www.dsusa.org/.

Matt Skiing
Matt Skiing

Max Skiing
Max Skiing

 

 


Sailing

http://www.heartofsailing.org/default.asp

Max sailing
Max sailing

 


Bicycle Riding

Find a local program to help teach your child to ride a bicycle at http://icanshine.org/

Hunter Biking
Hunter Biking

Max Biking
Max Biking

Jordyn biking
Jordyn biking

 

 


Tennis

To find a local program near you, see http://www.specialpopstennis.com/ or http://www.eastern.usta.com/Special-Needs/19917_Adaptive_Tennis/

Jordyn playing Tennis
Jordyn playing Tennis

 


Other activities that get our kids moving

Jake on a Unicycle
Jake on a Unicycle

Jordyn at CrossFit
Jordyn at CrossFit

Jake Golfing
Jake Golfing

Charlie Curling
Charlie Curling

Jeff Boarding
Jeff Boarding

Hunter Boarding
Hunter Boarding

Max Bungee Jumping
Max Bungee Jumping

Greta Kayaking
Greta Kayaking

Max tubing
Max tubing

Timmy at Fun Run
Timmy at Fun Run

Zack at Scouts
Zack at Scouts

Max Waterskiing
Max Waterskiing

Crossfit Kids
Crossfit Kids

Brendan at Pinewood Derby
Brendan at Pinewood Derby


More Resources:

Dreams for Kids Adaptive Sports

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.