Motivating my son who is on the Autism spectrum to get involved in a sport or extracurricular activities is difficult. After looking into several activities that might work to push him a little without over stimulating him, we came up with a good list of possibilities. Talk with your child and see if one of these gets their attention:
Swimming, Golf, Karate, and Bowling
Activities like swimming, golf, karate, and bowling are great because they give your child a chance to develop their skill individually and maintain their own personal space. They also have the option with these sports to participate as a group on a team which will give them a chance to further practice socialization skills. Give it a try and take them out to the pool or bowling alley on the weekend to see how they feel about the sport.
Music and Art
All children who have Autism are different and some simply will not enjoy any type of physical activity. Music and art can be a great option to spark their creative and express themselves. Even if they don’t wind up the next protégé, they may find something that they love. If can afford private lessons, that’s great. If not, just picking up a keyboard for them to play around with and learn the ropes themselves is fine too. There are several YouTube videos that they can use to learn a few of the easier pieces.
A published study suggests that therapeutic horseback riding can offer significant benefits in the areas of self-regulation, adaptive learning, and motor skills in children with Autism. A series of 10 weekly sessions were used in the study, however occasional rides may offer benefits too and give your child something to look forward to.
If your child is comfortable, the scouts might be a fun option. If they would be more comfortable out of a team or class environment, take them out on an adventure of your own. Whether you want to go to the beach together or a national park, the goal is to get a little active and explore the environment. You can create a scavenger hunt check list for things you would expect to find like a worm or type of tree branch, or just talk about your surroundings. Make your visits consistent and try to build the excitement by marking it on your calendar and talking about what you might find.