Written by: Victoria Terrill, Account Manager Healthcare Practice
The overall goal in sports is to provide athletes with an experience to get out on the field, court, or mat, and have success. This makes me question:
Why are there not more kids on the spectrum involved in sports? And are there opportunities in their local communities for children on the spectrum to participate in sports?
Click here for the top sports for children with Autism, “The Best Sports for Kids with Autism” identifies mostly individual sports such as swimming, horseback riding, track, bowling, martial arts, etc. During the weekends, I travel around the United States working cheerleading competitions. Though cheerleading is neither listed in the article nor an individual sport, it has the reputation to be cutthroat and judgmental, but when it comes to special needs teams, this isn’t the case at all. The entire audience is rooting for the group to hit a perfect routine on the mat.
While watching special needs teams compete, I have witnessed amazing cheerleading performances during competition in front of thousands of spectators. It’s even more powerful to experience firsthand the positive reactions from the audience. After seeing these teams succeed, I would encourage any family to get your child with autism involved in cheerleading or another sport. Three cheers for getting your child on the spectrum involved with cheerleading or another sport.
Based on what I’ve witnessed during cheerleading competitions, sports can be beneficial by involving special needs individuals and teams, increasing awareness, and opening doors for others to be more accepting and understanding.
With a little bit of research, there ARE options for children on the spectrum to be active and learn life skills through sports.
One of my favorite resources for children on the spectrum is the “Sparkle Effect” which promotes cheer and dance teams with a mix of children with and without disabilities.
Working as a recruiter in the ABA Therapy field, I constantly learn from board certified behavior analysts about their success stories which has heightened my awareness about the success of sports participation for children on the spectrum. I welcome your feedback and would like to connect with you on LinkedIn and on Twitter. You can learn more about me HERE as I focus on helping those within the world of Autism. Learn more about TYGES on our website, Twitter, LinkedIn, and or on Facebook.
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“We’re here to make good things happen to other people.”