Sports and movement. This is something that has always come naturally to Michael. He has been on the move since he first learned to walk at eighteen months and has not slowed down since. He has always been a physical child who enjoyed going to parks and for walks. And from a young age, he played on an adapted soccer team as well as participating in swimming lessons. He also took skating lessons, tennis lessons, and tried basketball, though that was a little challenging. Still, I was proud of him. Proud of the fact that he continued to push forward and challenge himself. He also took up bike riding with me and has gotten really good with his training wheels. We have biked all over the neighborhood together!
What Michael participating in sports has taught me, is that each time he is physically active, it helps him work through stress, connect to other people, and build new fine and gross motor skills. It also has helped show him both what he loves and does not love to do. It has helped him forge connections to other people around him. And it has helped him learn about his own strengths and weaknesses and what he can improve on. I have also witnessed the confidence he has gained from learning to swim well, kick a soccer ball and play a little game with friends, serve a tennis volley, and play a little game etc. As Michael’s behavior issues have been mounting, I have seen how important sports have been to helping him learn to control his anxiety, build confidence, and keep him busy. It has helped him tremendously. He has played on adapted teams with other exceptional or special needs kids, and this has helped too. The leagues were all about having fun and not about being competitive. Exercise was made fun in this way, so there was no pressure. It does not matter how the child gets their exercise. As long as they are having fun, the league can be adapted or not. It all depends on the child and their abilities and comfort level.
Exceptional Parents, how active are your Exceptional Children in sports? If the answer is not so much and they are doing well, then that is fine of course. However, if you notice they are stressed and anxious, why not try and engage them in more physical activity to work though their worry? If you are nervous how they will do, try adapted or Special Olympics activities in your area. Your child will be able to learn at a slower and more individualized pace with no competitive expectations, and they will also learn to socialize meeting other children who are just like them. This will help them develop life skills that will serve them well. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.