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.

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