Special Needs and Anti-Bullying: Part One

Special Needs and Anti-Bullying: Part One

Self-esteem, self-respect, and self-worth are important areas of development as we grow. They are also areas in which we’ve all experienced difficulty at some point in our lives. Just think of your junior-high years, and you’ll likely recognize what I mean.

Many children with special needs, however, struggle with these areas on a regular basis, not just during a few gangly pre-teen years.

Add in bullying, which occurs far more often than we usually realize, and special-needs kids and adults can end up with terrible, life-long struggles in these areas. We want to highlight the importance of anti-bullying in this two-part series because recognizing bullying behaviors and having tools to deal with those behaviors is vital for teachers, coaches, parents, friends, siblings, and special needs individuals.

What Is Bullying?

An important first step in dealing with bullying is clearly defining what bullying is, as well as what it is not. According to www.StopBullying.gov, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance and the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.” Let’s unpack that definition. First, bullying is connected with a behavior, not with a person. When discussing bullying with your special-needs child or with another adult, recognize that an individual is displaying a certain behavior but is not defined solely by that behavior (i.e., don’t refer to him/her as “the bully”). Next, the behavior is unwanted and aggressive. Conflict or disagreement between two individuals is not bullying. Conflict can become bullying when a power imbalance occurs, as when one child begins to display dominant behavior over another through name-calling, verbal or written threats, exerting physical force, and the like. He or she may think that the target is weaker (physically, mentally, or emotionally) than himself/herself. When such harassment becomes repeated behavior, or if the power imbalance is not recognized and addressed promptly to prevent it becoming repetitious, we end up with bullying situations.     

One further note: bullying in school settings, including events sponsored by schools, can be more than just a problem behavior–it can become an illegal activity called “disability harassment.” Disability harassment is defined by the U.S. Department of Education (2000) as “intimidation or abusive behavior toward a student based on disability that creates a hostile environment by interfering with or denying a student’s participation in or receipt of benefits, services, or opportunities in the institution’s program.” If you are aware of such a bullying situation in school settings, contact the school administrators immediately so that they can take proper measures.

Emotional, Physical, and Mental Results of Bullying

A natural result of being bullied is that the individual experiences sadness, frustration, and anxiety. Several other common results of bullying include depression, fear/apprehension, physical complaints (such as headaches, stomach/digestive issues, and fatigue), decreasing grades and academic struggles, and suicidal thoughts. Many children experience a combination of these emotions and struggles. Bullying that involves physical force can obviously cause bodily harm as well: bruising, swelling, cuts, etc. If you are around a child who displays one or more of these emotional, physical, or mental distresses, it’s a good idea to keep an alert eye and try to open the conversation to see if bullying may be involved.

A potential response to bullying that we can easily overlook is that the child who is on the receiving end of bullying may react strongly in an effort to feel powerful or in control, turning to bullying behaviors himself. He may not know how to approach an adult for assistance (or may be fearful of doing so). He also may have become so used to bullying behaviors taking place around him, as well as to him, that he instinctively turns to those behaviors when interacting with others. This is partly why it’s important to refer to bullying behavior instead of labeling a person as a bully. Those we view as “bullies” may well be lashing out in a nonverbal cry for help because they have been bullied in some way and don’t know how to deal with it.

Why Special-Needs Individuals Are at a Higher Risk

Many organizations have published statistics about the higher risk of bullying of special-needs individuals. Pacer.org states that “children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers.” We know that bullying usually targets those who are different in some way. Children who have speech impediments, physical limitations, social skill challenges, mental limitations, or require physical assistance (such as a wheelchair or an oxygen tank) are much more vulnerable to harassment and bullying. Special needs individuals’ differences are part of what make these individuals beautiful and unique in their own way. Oftentimes children who are around special-needs kids have not been taught that differences are a good thing, and they have not received guidance in learning how to play with, interact with, and be friends with their special-needs peers.

At Be The Best Sport, we recognize that we all have differences. We are committed to providing safe, supportive, respectful, and fun environments for kids with special needs to thrive. Bullying is a big deal, and in part two we will address specific ways to help our kids know appropriate measures when bullying occurs. Check our schedule to learn more about the Fitness/Kickboxing/Anti-Bullying and Karate programs we are offering right now; it is designed to increase confidence and self-esteem, and they provide specific tools to deal with bullying behaviors.

Winter/Spring Schedule 2017

DaySportTimeDatesDates OffAgesMax KidsPriceLocationRegister
SaturdayMulti-Sport9:30am-10:15am2/18 - 4/22NONE4 - 710$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayMulti-Sport10:15am-11:00am2/18 - 4/22NONE8 - 148$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdaySoccer10:15am-11:00am2/18 - 4/22NONE8 - 148$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayFitness/Kickboxing/Anti-Bullying11:15am-12:00pm2/18 - 4/22NONE12 - 2012$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayTrack & Field11:30am-12:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1510$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayKarate (Beginner) "Little Ninja"12:00pm-12:30pm2/18 - 4/22NONE4 - 78$160Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayAdaptive Karate12:30pm-1:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 128$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayTrack & Field12:30pm-1:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1510$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayBasketball1:45pm-2:30pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1512$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdaySpecial Needs Basketball2:30pm-3:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE10 & Up12$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SundayManhasset Soccer - Adaptive Program4:00pm-5:00pm4/2-6/18April 9,16
May 14, 28
June
Pre K - 6th Gr.40$50Click Here For InfoClick Here

 

Sources:

http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/students-with-disabilities/

https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/groups/special-needs/BullyingTipSheet.pdf

http://www.stompoutbullying.org/index.php/information-and-resources/parents-page/special-needs-kids-and-bullying/

http://www.ldonline.org/article/20001/

https://blog.ed.gov/2013/08/keeping-students-with-disabilities-safe-from-bullying/

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-27902500

https://canchild.ca/en/resources/32-bullying-risk-in-children-with-disabilities-a-review-of-the-literature

Special Needs Programs: Positive Impact on Parents

Special Needs Programs: Positive Impact on Parents

Many blog posts and articles focus on the impressive benefits of physical activity and developmental programs for children who have special needs. It’s helpful to read how these programs are resulting in growth, learning, physical development, and increased self-confidence. But in a family where special needs kids are present, everyone’s life is different and has challenging moments, not just the life of the one with special needs. Parents, in particular, can experience the gamut of emotions and struggles as they try to help their child enroll, participate, and succeed in special needs programs. But when children are plugged into the right programs, the result is a significant positive impact on the parents as well as the children.

Normalcy

A fact of life: people want to be accepted, to fit in, to belong. Another fact of life: loving and raising a child whose special needs may bring unwanted and sometimes judgmental attention makes feeling accepted and “normal” pretty difficult. As the parent tries to help the child feel normal, the parent ends up feeling less and less normal, and sometimes just helpless. Parents want to see their children grow and develop, to feel included. When kids are involved in programs geared to or with accommodations for special needs, the result is often development in balance, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, social interactions, positive self-image, confidence, muscle tone, teamwork, and the list goes on. Parents are no longer trying to help their children feel normal on their own; instead, there’s a team of coaches, physical therapists, teachers, mentors, and parents coming together to help your child develop. Kids’ involvement with a schedule and regular activities can also provide their parents with a sense of normalcy as mom loads up the van to head to soccer or dad leaves work early to cheer on the wheelchair basketball game.

Community

Even with a “normal” level of activity and involvement, apart from the right programs, it can be easy to feel alone in your struggle as a parent of a special-needs child. It’s far too easy to compare your parenting styles and level of involvement with other parents – parents who genuinely don’t have a clue what having a special-needs family member is like. As we’ve already seen, participating in the right special needs programs can help provide a sense of normal involvement in social activities. But a significant benefit to parents is a community where they – and their children – belong. Suddenly, there is a community of supportive parents who are in similar situations. They can sympathize when you talk about your child that struggles to get along with others, or struggles with academic ability, or has a hard time with hand-eye coordination. They understand what it’s like to feel easily judged, to just not know what their child needs at times. They can encourage you that you’re not a bad parent and that making parenting mistakes happens but it will all be okay. And as these moms and dads show you support and encouragement, remember that their kids are in the program right alongside your child and show them the same understanding, sympathy, encouragement, and support. Some of your closest friendships might form as a result of meeting other parents at a program each of your special-needs kids is involved in. Supportive parent groups are one of the most positive benefits of your child being enrolled in the right special-needs programs.

Personal Development

Many programs for special needs children will ask or allow parents to participate alongside their child. As you engage in physical activities with your child, you’ll likely see results in your own body: improved abilities, cardiovascular health, increased muscle tone, release of stress, and so on. Participation in programs geared towards skills and mental development can also help parents discover new hobbies, such as pottery, weaving, watercolor painting, or photography. Learning alongside your child provides encouragement for both of you as you’re in the boat together, and it can provide unique opportunities for better emotional connection.

Training

Different from personal development as a natural result of participating in programs, this positive impact on parents can affect every aspect of their interactions with a child who has special needs. Programs guided by trained therapists, mentors, coaches, and physicians provide a natural pathway for parents to gain detailed guidance and training about how to help their child succeed in multiple areas. These knowledgeable guides are often eager to communicate to parents the specific needs in which the child needs additional support or reinforcement and to train parents in how best to provide that support. Sometimes the conversations will be quick suggestions; sometimes you may need to request specific training times to help you learn how to develop specific skills to help your special-needs child. Perhaps enrolling your child in a special-needs program can allow you the time to meet regularly with a trained therapist or to take a class on your child’s specific needs.

Live, Laugh, Love

A rather cliché phrase, but think about it: as a parent of a child with special needs, you need to live, you need to laugh, and you need to love and be loved. A few cautions as you consider getting your kids involved (or upping your involvement) in special needs programs:

  • Remember that you are more than JUST the parent of a special-needs child. Is that part of your identity? Absolutely. But that’s not the only defining aspect of who you are. Like any adult who is also a parent, try to make time for things you’re interested in: friendships, activities, a girls’ night out, groups, exercise, hobbies, and even alone time. Decide to live, and your children will benefit: you’ll be more relaxed, and they’ll see what really living looks like.
  • Humor is key for any parent, and perhaps even more so when parenting a child who has special needs. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at humorous moments your children create. Don’t stress out trying to meet an impossible ideal. Mistakes and messes are ok, and laughter is good for the soul.

Hand out love like candy. Some days, that means you need all the candy for yourself – let others do kind and helpful things for you. You don’t have to be the super parent who can do it all herself! Most days, you can look for ways to share the candy. Schedule a skilled babysitter (maybe an understanding parent from your child’s special needs program) and go on a date with your spouse. Spend time reading to or playing with your children who don’t require as much physical or emotional assistance. Call a friend to meet for dessert or a cup of coffee when your spouse can handle things at home for an hour. As you pour love into others, they’ll reciprocate and you’ll get filled right back up with love.

 

At Be The Best Sport, our programs are designed to keep partipants safe and allow parents to be at ease and enjoy 45 mins – 1 hour to enjoy some time to speak with other parents and relax all while knowing their children are having fun and making new friends.

Share this post with others and have them register for a FREE TRIAL class at any of our programs!

Winter/Spring Schedule 2017

DaySportTimeDatesDates OffAgesMax KidsPriceLocationRegister
SaturdayMulti-Sport9:30am-10:15am2/18 - 4/22NONE4 - 710$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayMulti-Sport10:15am-11:00am2/18 - 4/22NONE8 - 148$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdaySoccer10:15am-11:00am2/18 - 4/22NONE8 - 148$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayFitness/Kickboxing/Anti-Bullying11:15am-12:00pm2/18 - 4/22NONE12 - 2012$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayTrack & Field11:30am-12:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1510$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayKarate (Beginner) "Little Ninja"12:00pm-12:30pm2/18 - 4/22NONE4 - 78$160Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayAdaptive Karate12:30pm-1:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 128$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayTrack & Field12:30pm-1:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1510$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayBasketball1:45pm-2:30pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1512$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdaySpecial Needs Basketball2:30pm-3:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE10 & Up12$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SundayManhasset Soccer - Adaptive Program4:00pm-5:00pm4/2-6/18April 9,16
May 14, 28
June
Pre K - 6th Gr.40$50Click Here For InfoClick Here

Benefits of Special Needs Basketball

Benefits of Special Needs Basketball

 

Drive through almost any neighborhood or even commercial areas with recreation facilities, and you’ll notice a common item: basketball hoops. Many kids grow up casually shooting hoops in the driveway or playing a pickup game with friends. Even kids who don’t know the rules of the game have probably played a variation of Knock-Out or H-O-R-S-E during P.E. or day camps. Special needs kids may feel unwanted and inadequate during these games, whether friendly or competitive in nature. Special needs basketball is a great way to give these kids a chance to try something new in a safe environment as well as receive guidance and instruction, develop social interactions, and gain confidence in their own abilities.

 

Try Something New

We’ve all been there: you’re out in public and someone calls your name: “Hey, Joe! Come over here and give this a whirl!” Whether it’s joining a game you’ve never played, tasting a new dish, or attempting a never-before-seen stunt on a bicycle, unfamiliar territory tends to make each of us uneasy. “What if we fail? What if we don’t like it? What if we break it? What if . . .?” So if trying something unfamiliar makes able-bodied adults and kids uncomfortable, how much more stressful is it for special needs kids? In a safe environment, basketball set-ups designed for special needs kids allow them to participate and have fun in a very common sport without the risk of public failure. A special needs program’s basketball court also provides a place for kids to realize that they are not alone. They will get to learn and develop these new skills together.

Personalized Instruction

Special needs kids have a wide variety of developmental needs, and basketball programs for these kids are usually designed with certified teachers and coaches who can work closely with each child to teach him or her the fundamental skills of the game. From basics like dribbling to more advanced skills like blocking and free-throws, special needs kids will be met at their level and aided in progressing through skills on the court. In some cases, special needs kids are paired with a peer or staff mentor who can demonstrate by example and provide even more individualized support. Rules of play are modified to fit national guidelines, such as the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s set of rules, which provides needed accommodations and enables fair play while still teaching the fundamentals of the sport.

Social Development

Many special needs children are unable to take part in most schools’ team sports. An environment where these kids can actually join a team and learn how to be a team player provides a positive setting for verbal interactions, friendly play, and general social development. Basketball in particular sets up a fantastic opportunity for verbal and physical teamwork as every member of the team learns together to navigate their way down the court. Players learn how and when to indicate that they are open, to receive the ball, and to communicate with verbal calls or nonverbal signs to whom they intend to pass the ball. Kids will also learn to work together when not on the court, especially in areas such as encouraging their teammates, good sportsmanship, and respect for others: their own teammates, coaches, referees, and other teams’ players. Learning social and teamwork skills will benefit kids in a multiplicity of settings.

Boost Confidence

In any sport, a so-called “good player” will demonstrate knowledge of the game, coordination, depth perception, a sense of timing, and a sense of confidence in himself. That confidence actually results from having a grasp on these other “good player” abilities. Special needs individuals can greatly enhance self-esteem and confidence as they learn the rules of the sport and receive patient instruction that develops their coordination and senses. Basketball provides development in hand-eye coordination as well as both gross and fine motor skills. With basketball hoops so prevalent in our neighborhoods and recreation areas, an understanding of the basic rules of basketball paired with confidence in basketball skills can level the court and open the door for positive interactions with kids of all abilities.

 

Be the Best Sport recognizes that fun, guided play and one-on-one instruction can give each person the chance to succeed at basketball! With a creatively designed program that includes both on-court practice through drills and games as well as carefully supervised real-game play, our certified coaches work closely with kids to develop basketball skills, physical health and athletic ability, positive social interactions, and a personal sense of accomplishment.

Winter/Spring Schedule 2017

DaySportTimeDatesDates OffAgesMax KidsPriceLocationRegister
SaturdayMulti-Sport9:30am-10:15am2/18 - 4/22NONE4 - 710$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayMulti-Sport10:15am-11:00am2/18 - 4/22NONE8 - 148$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdaySoccer10:15am-11:00am2/18 - 4/22NONE8 - 148$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayFitness/Kickboxing/Anti-Bullying11:15am-12:00pm2/18 - 4/22NONE12 - 2012$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayTrack & Field11:30am-12:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1510$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayKarate (Beginner) "Little Ninja"12:00pm-12:30pm2/18 - 4/22NONE4 - 78$160Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayAdaptive Karate12:30pm-1:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 128$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayTrack & Field12:30pm-1:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1510$210Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdayBasketball1:45pm-2:30pm2/18 - 4/22NONE7 - 1512$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SaturdaySpecial Needs Basketball2:30pm-3:15pm2/18 - 4/22NONE10 & Up12$250Click Here For InfoCall 516.453.0990
SundayManhasset Soccer - Adaptive Program4:00pm-5:00pm4/2-6/18April 9,16
May 14, 28
June
Pre K - 6th Gr.40$50Click Here For InfoClick Here

 

Sources:

http://oureverydaylife.com/basketball-special-needs-kids-wheelchairs-17727.html

www.specialolympics.org

www.adaptedsports.org

www.online-basketball-drills.com

 

 

How To Volunteer In Special Needs Sports Programs

 

Special needs kids often don’t play team (or even individual) sports at school, so they aren’t given the opportunity to get to know people of all abilities over the fun of playing a game. Volunteering to help in special needs sports involves understanding how to include those with differing levels of ability in ways society should but often doesn’t. A vivid example of this is the Special Olympics Unified Sports, which promotes teamwork by playing special needs and non-special needs individuals alongside each other in the same game. Such inclusion removes unjustified “preconceptions” of what it means to have special needs by a bonding love for sports.


Going Beyond

Some potential volunteers assume they might not have what it takes or the “forbearance” to work with special needs individuals. Those who move past these concerns find it well worth the effort. Working alongside those with special needs requires kindness, not merely forbearance. Wanting to aid another is a human emotion. Empathy, placing yourself in the other person’s situation, is necessary when interacting with special needs kids who may experience all kinds of behavioral, physical, or emotional disabilities—kids who often find it hard to fit in. The volunteer’s concern goes far beyond “how well would I interact with them?”

Life Lessons
Anyone can meet another’s need for friendship, understanding, and compassion. In working with special needs children, attitudes change and circumspection and empathetic responsiveness emerge. Volunteers gain the opportunity for self-growth and a unique insight into the obstacles those with special needs must overcome daily, which in turn grows an understanding of the lasting effects of disability. Sometimes working with special needs spurs the desire to seek a career in special needs education, and volunteering can boost that skill set and solidify commitment. Besides teaching tolerance, volunteering with special needs youth sports just plain ol’ gives such children a great time and a confidence boost through physical activity.

 

Where to Start

Seeking out local organizations is the best way to start. Volunteers can aid with things like build up and tear down for equipment and events, registration, support staff for participants, getting players and family or friends around the event campus, helping to find willing sponsors, advertising the events, or filling in with administration at the organization’s home office. Who volunteers? Anyone can volunteer but especially people wanting to perform community service like professional business teams, retired individuals, high school and college students, and service groups.

Be the Best Sport loves volunteers! We offer a year-round program that accepts ages 12 and up. It’s great for our special needs athletes because they are given opportunity for social growth, friendship, and teamwork. It’s great for our volunteers because they are shown an aspect of life they might otherwise never have been exposed to. Volunteering with us creates a sense of dependability and accountability. Like Unified Sports, we want to break down the barriers of misconceptions and prejudice and foster tolerance among everyone at all levels of ability. Athletes and volunteers come together, play together, and cheer each other on as we all work together on being the best sport.

 

Importance of Our Volunteers

At Be The Best Sport, we value our volunteers and they play a vital role in the success of our programs and mission to help the athletes gain new skills and increase their physical capabilities. Our athletes have smiles on their faces each week when their volunteer shows up to class and they look forward to spending time with them each week.

What Our Volunteers Gain By Helping

Volunteers will develop and build valuable skills for understanding and working with children with special needs in an athletic and recreational setting that will prepare them for future employment at either Be The Best Sport or another similar facility.  Volunteers will also develop a sense of who they are as part of their community and in the larger world around them. Many of our former volunteers have changed their majors in college or even career path and are now working with children with special needs because of the experience they had volunteering at our program(s).

Volunteer Training

New candidates applying to volunteer with Be The Best Sport will be required to attend at least one initial training session, three refresher sessions, and at least 10 hours of on the field community service. The initial training session will introduce all aspects of the program and what is expected of them as a volunteer so that they can help fulfill the mission.  Initial trainings will present an in-depth overview of the different types of physical and/or and mental disabilities that may be associated with a child with special needs and how they differ from each other. This will give new volunteers insight into the way children with special needs function and how each disability has its own set of unique characteristics.

Each hour-long refresher session will focus on scenarios of specific situations that can occur during program and appropriate solutions for addressing them.   This will provide our volunteers with an opportunity to ask questions and discuss any challenges encountered during class time as well as the necessary tools to effectively and appropriately problem solve if a difficult situation were to occur in future weeks. Although Be The Best Sport volunteers are required to attend three refresher sessions during the year, those wishing to eventually seek employment with Be The Best Sport as a Program Assistant, will be required to attend a minimum of four or more refresher sessions per year.

Once a volunteer is enrolled in the program, they will receive a t-shirt and binder with information detailing requirements and expectations of being a Be The Best Sport Certified Sport Coach Volunteer and the opportunity to fill out a questionnaire that will allow us to have a better idea of their strengths, weaknesses, areas of interests, and goals. Volunteers will also receive a certificate of completion that acknowledges completion of the required number of training sessions as well as required community service hours. Volunteers will also be required to complete a self-assessment that will be reviewed and discussed with our lead instructor. 

Current Opportunities

1. Sport Coach – Work 1-on-1 with one of our athletes at any of our various programs throughout the week.

2. Events – We host various events throughout the year and are always looking for help preparing for the days festivities.

3. Fundraising – Want to help us raise money for our cause? We have a variety of ways to get involved and help us raise funds to provide more opportunities and scholarships to our athletes.

 

If you would like to volunteer for one of our many opportunities, please fill out the form below and one of our team members will get back to you!

Volunteer Form

Determining the Best Sport Choice for a Special Needs Child

Determining the Best Sport Choice for a Special Needs Child


As part of the childhood rite of passage and growing up, each kid should have the chance to experience the fun of playing sports and the confidence and sense of belonging it can bring. Many sports can be adapted for special needs children and adults. For example, those in wheelchairs can play basketball or take up modified track and field, and those with limb loss or prosthetics can participate in therapeutic horseback riding or swimming. Perceived limitations should not prevent special needs kids with varying ability levels from trying.

Health Benefits

Sometimes concern of injury keeps parents or guardians from enrolling those with behavioral or physical disabilities into a sport, but it’s especially important for special needs children to get physical exercise to counter adverse health risks. Recent statistics show that the obesity rate for those with special needs is 40% higher than those without, and the odds of being bullied are three times greater than those without a disability. Sports can help in a variety of ways:

  • Cardiovascular improvement
  • Muscle coordination and skeletal strength
  • Weight control
  • Mental sharpening
  • Emotional/social skills
  • Reduced likelihood of other health complications

 

Personal Rewards

When choosing the best sport for your child, avoid mentioning any “limitations.” Help them go into the activity with a “can do” attitude. Schedule a doctor’s examination for any safety concerns, and inform the instructor or coach of any possible health problems beforehand. Understanding the special needs child’s abilities is key for parents. Those kids with behavioral, emotional, or mental disabilities might benefit more from one-on-one or individualized sports as opposed to team sports. If a team sport works best, notify the instructor and fellow players so that they become familiar with your child’s disability. Sports and physical activity in general can boost confidence for special needs children. It will be a stepping stone for trying new things.

Multiple Choices

Be the Best Sport offers a wide selection of sports that can be a benefit to children in many ways:

  • Basketball–teaches great teamwork and following directions, promotes hand-eye coordination, encourages camaraderie
  • Soccer–improves foot-eye coordination, teaches coaching instructions, coordinates play with peers
  • Multi-sport–provides a variety of activity and promotes physical coordination
  • Karate–teaches focus and control, great for individualized training and accomplishment
  • Fitness–promotes cardiovascular health and general muscle coordination with daily steady exercise routines
  • Track and field–enhances speed with individualized competition as well as team relay and obstacle course skills
  • Tennis–teaches hand-eye coordination and running, can be individualized or mixed doubles to promote limited exposure to teamwork

 

We want our athletes to learn to show respect to leaders and peers as well as to accept instruction. We desire that they make friends and learn good sportsmanship. Besides physical strength and growth, each of these sports has many ongoing benefits. Each child learns how to enjoy victory but also how to accept defeat. Team members learn how to congratulate other individuals on their wins. Special needs athletes learn to be compassionate toward those who have lost and to console others who are injured or disappointed. They can learn self-discipline and motivation skills they can apply in other areas of life. Be the Best Sport aspires to help those with special needs achieve these goals.

 

Summer Schedule 2017

DaySportTimeDatesDates OffAgesMax KidsPriceLocationRegister
MondayTrack & Field 5:30pm - 6:15pm July 10,17,24,31
Aug 7
NONE
8 - 158$150Unlimited Sports Action
30 Beechwood Ave
Port Washington, NY 11050
Call 516.453.0990
MondayFitness 6:15pm-7:00pm July 10,17,24,31
Aug 7
NONE
8 & Up8$150Unlimited Sports Action
30 Beechwood Ave
Port Washington, NY 11050
Call 516.453.0990
TuesdayMulti Sport 6:00pm - 7:30pmJuly 11,18,25
Aug 1,8
NONE
12 & Up12$200Unlimited Sports Action
30 Beechwood Ave
Port Washington, NY 11050
Call 516.453.0990
Wednesday Multi-Sport5:30pm - 6:15pmJuly 5,12,19,26
Aug 2,9
NONE
5 - 88$180Unlimited Sports Action
30 Beechwood Ave
Port Washington, NY 11050
Call 516.453.0990
WednesdayBike Riding6:15pm-7:00pm Session 1: July 5,12,19
Session 2: July 26, Aug 2,9
NONE
4 & Up3 Per Session $150 for 3 Weeks Unlimited Sports Action
30 Beechwood Ave
Port Washington, NY 11050
Call 516.453.0990
Thursday Fitness 5:30pm - 6:15pm July 6,13,20,27
Aug 3,10
NONE4 - 88$180 Unlimited Sports Action
30 Beechwood Ave
Port Washington, NY 11050
Call 516.453.0990
Thursday Bike Riding6:15pm-7:00pm Session 1: July 6,13,20
Session 2: July 27, Aug 3,10
NONE5 & Up3 Per Session$150 for 3 Weeks Unlimited Sports Action
30 Beechwood Ave
Port Washington, NY 11050
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Mother’s Day with Special Needs Children

There are many activities that special needs children can do with their moms to show their appreciation on Mother’s Day. The objective is to provide an enjoyable time for moms and their children with special needs, to enhance the motor and cognitive skills of the child, and to increase social interaction. You want to make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone by taking into consideration safety factors, the child’s abilities, and their interests. The following are suggestions for making a memorable Mother’s Day:

  • Learn a new activity together
  • Play outdoor, board, or video games
  • Construct something from Legos, modeling clay, or play dough
  • Watch a movie and eat snacks
  • Build an inside tent, fort, or outdoor playhouse
  • Make instruments to play music on
  • Read a favorite book or collaborate on your own story
  • Bake Mom’s favorite candy, cake, or cookies and decorate with messages (kid’s choice)
  • Pack a picnic with Mom’s and kid’s favorite foods
  • Have dinner at Mom’s favorite restaurant with no cooking or dishes to clean up
  • Play mini golf or basketball
  • Hike at the park
  • Spend time at the playground or petting zoo
  • Tour a favorite museum
  • Build a fun obstacle course
  • Catch fireflies
  • Color pictures with scented markers
  • Make matching shirts with tie-dye
  • Use chalk to draw on the sidewalk outside
  • Finger-paint art to frame and hang up
  • Make a card including the child’s own personal message
  • Decorate flowers in a pot, picture frames for photographs, or jewelry
  • Plant a garden together with Mom’s favorite flowers
  • Design a memory book–take pictures together and decorate your album
  • Record a video or movie together–sing-along time or just being silly

When choosing your Mother’s Day activities, it’s helpful to ask yourself, “What does my special needs child love to do? What difficulties or discomfort does he or she already face? What skill categories need growth?” The activities can be kept short or simple, especially if overwhelming sensory situations can upset the child with special needs. You can use materials you already have on hand or visit familiar locations. By giving Mom a special day, they’re still accomplishing their goal.

Use Mother’s Day as a learning time to focus on others:

  • Invite Grandmother together to share in your special day
  • Plan a Mother’s Day for someone whose kids aren’t close by to celebrate

Whatever the plans for Mother’s Day, your special needs child will want to know that their efforts are appreciated. Give them high praise and reinforce your pride in their work. Be their support by encouraging confidence and independence and highlighting their achievement.

Be the Best Sport uses recreation and sports to accomplish these same objectives in those with special needs. We believe the best way to foster their growth is through positive reassurance and corroboration through family and friends to help them succeed a little more each time they try. Mother’s Day is a great opportunity for moms and special needs kids to enjoy each other’s company and reach new goals together.

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Socialization, Recreation, and Sports Programs Help with Autism

As a neurobiological disorder that affects every area of life, autism is associated with lifelong traits that include heavily repetitive behavior, fixed regimens, struggles to communicate, and underdeveloped social skills. While standard behavioral therapies have proven successful in helping reduce the extremities of these traits as well as focusing on expanding mental and emotional skills, studies have shown that by adding socialization/recreation or sports programs, not as a substitute therapy but an additive, children with autism have an edge on gaining the skills they most need to navigate their way through life.

Socialization and Recreation

Although plenty of communities provide programs that allow individuals with autism the opportunity to build communication and social skills, the first place successful socialization begins is at home. Autistic children will learn best when surrounded and encouraged by supportive family and friends. Recreation programs not only benefit the special needs individual but also the whole family by alleviating stress and giving an atmosphere of relaxation and fun. When researching recreation programs, parents should keep in mind 1) what pastimes attract their autistic child’s attention or let them excel and 2) what recreational programs will foster growth or provide results for the challenges they face socially or communicatively. In addition community programs can help by giving children with autism fun, skill-building interactions through activities in a structured environment. One increasingly successful way to accomplish this goal is through sports.

Sports Programs

Although sports programs are not a replacement for other therapies, when used alongside they have undeniably positive effects. Sports can:

  • encourage body awareness
  • grow endurance and muscle coordination
  • teach the importance of fitness and an active lifestyle
  • lower the risk for gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems and other health issues
  • create improved motor function
  • increase self-assurance and independence
  • reinforce concurrent alternate therapy methods
  • provide social aspects through exposure to coaches and peers

Physical movement through sports and exercise combine with other therapies to refocus repetitive symptoms into functional traits in daily life.

The autism spectrum spans various combinations of sensory issues and limited motor skills which might hinder some kids in heavily team-based activities where person-to-person communication is problematic. Some individuals with autism might find events repetitive by nature with limited social engagement such as basketball (one-on-one), track, swimming, or horseback riding highly structured and easier to master.

Behavioral therapies such as sports, socialization, and recreation are taught to increase peer skills, thinking, and good communication. Be the Best Sport recognizes foremost the importance of working as a family to increase the physical, mental, and emotional abilities of every unique child and adult with special needs. We also realize the right fit of sport or activity to the individual is vital. Recreational sports should be fun and attainable for people with all levels of social, mental, or physical challenges, and our varied programs meet those needs with a capable staff. By teaching sports activity we strive to give our athletes life skills as well as a personal sense of accomplishment.

Check out our spring schedule below, and sign up for a FREE TRIAL CLASS

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Benefits of Bike Riding for Children with Special Needs

Learning to whistle, tying shoelaces, or turning a somersault are all childhood milestones every boy or girl wants to grasp because everyone else can do it. Learning to bike ride is one such rite of passage, but for those with special needs—each of which has a unique set of challenges to overcome like limited mobility, sensory difficulties, or communication/social deficiencies—the opportunity may not always present itself. A study conducted by the University of Michigan reported fewer than 20% of children with autism and 10% with Down’s syndrome learn to ride a bike. The goal of the research was to seek out ways that mastering riding a bike would benefit special needs kids in other areas of their lives. Whether learning the “usual” way at home or at a day camp specifically designed to teach bike riding, children with special needs discover (and parents and counselors can witness) that it has advantages extending to every level.

Learning to ride a bike strengthens kids with special needs physically. The exertion of the pedaling allows them to develop the leg muscle organization and endurance they might have lacked before. Bike riding can fine-tune motor skills and physical coordination as well as aid with balance. Building a habit of continued, enjoyable physical activity can lower risk of future cardiovascular problems and obesity and their associated health complications.

Learning to ride a bike grows special needs kids mentally. As everyone experiencing the struggle knows, it takes focus to stay upright as he or she masters the task. Grasping the skill to bike ride also requires determination to carry through to the end. But once your child does, the results prove to be well worth the effort.

As a result, learning to ride a bike reinforces children with special needs emotionally. Many such kids can attest to the sense of independence they gain as well as the accompanying feelings of freedom, pride, and accomplishment. Because they mastered the bike, they can now work hard to learn new things and have the confidence to succeed in other aspects of life. Learning to ride also helps special needs children develop their social skills since it’s an activity the whole family can participate in.

Biking is a childhood rite of passage, a milestone which can be hard for those with special needs to conquer. As a skill that everyone learns, many of them can do it with support and practice. For those who find it a little more difficult to achieve on a standard bicycle, companies have developed various adaptive bikes to fill in the gap. More importantly, encouragement from family, friends, and trainers help boost the confidence of children with special needs to succeed. Be the Best Sport is dedicated to the goal and offers that very program to teach them to ride a bike and develop the focus, balance, independence, and social self-assurance they’ll need to interact with others and lead fulfilling lives. For more information, visit http://bethebestsport.org/special-needs-bike-riding/

BUILDING A HEALTHY & HAPPY LIFESTYLE

Sports and recreation for children and adults with special needs.

Author: Michael Furino – Be The Best Sport Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Studies have shown that children and adults with special needs face the same obesity risks as other peers, but have a larger set of factors that affect and may limit them. As a result, the types of foods they eat or activities they participate in may have a direct correlation. Some of these factors include:

  • Having a more complex relationship with food
  • Barriers to exercise
  • Medications
  • Family stress
  • Genetic disorders
  • Perceived risk of participating in too “difficult” or too “dangerous” activities

These barriers are tough to break, but ultimately, it’s most important to teach children and adults with special needs how to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Establishing good habits early on is essential.

In addition to eating healthy, sports and recreational activities are an integral part of developing positive habits. For those with special needs, sports and recreational activities may serve as a powerful way of improving muscle strength, coordination, flexibility, increased endurance and motor skills. In addition, sports programs are great activities to help build both self-confidence and friendships that last a lifetime. Participating in sports allows athletes with special needs the opportunity to be a part of a team, develop an understanding of sportsmanship, and gain personal satisfaction by viewing their own progress.

While participating in sports and recreational activities, children and adults with special needs are developing and strengthening their motor, cognitive and social abilities. When searching for a program, look for one that offers the opportunity to learn the basics of each sport. These programs will allow the athlete to learn at their own rate beginning at the most basic level, and expand upon their skill set as they progress.

It is also very important to find programs that not only facilitate the building of sport skills, but also focus on building confidence, self-esteem, and sportsmanship while meeting the needs of each individual. Finding a program that prioritizes a balance of fun and structure is of utmost importance.

Participants will learn new skills that can be transferred from the field to the classroom, and right back to their home environment. Children or adults who participate in sports activities have shown to exhibit better behaviors at home and in the classroom.

Parents of those with special needs who enroll their children in athletic activities often witness their son/daughter having an increase in appetite, exhibiting an improvement in sleeping habits, while also displaying more energy; a natural coping strategy for stress and/or anxiety.

Overall, sports and exercise play an integral role in the development of any child or adult, and skills are most certainly transferable across all aspects of life.

Source: Parent Guide News

Inspiring Football Player With Autism Finalist To Attend Super Bowl 50

Shariff Williams as his parents describe him is a miracle. At 9 years old, he as proved that he is stronger than ever. Shariff’s story was highlights by TODAY’s “Together We Make Football” series. Doctors told Shariff’s parents that he would never be able to walk or talk due to his Autism and Tourette’s Syndrome diagnosis. However, today with the love and support of his family, friends and the Panhandle Youth Football league, Shariff joins his twin brother and teammates on the football field every game. He was such an inspiration that he spent a day with the Washington Redskins, and is a finalist to attend Super Bowl 50.

Read more about Shariff’s story here.