The ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) shouldn’t be a limitation, neither the ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Every person that deals with these disorders will tell you that even if it’s a difficult road to go through, it hasn’t stopped them from being professionals or from having a regular life. Some studies show the cons of these conditions while practicing or playing in professional circles or just for fun.
But when it comes to reality, it’s precisely the opposite. Kids within these spectrums will put all their effort and focus on the practices and games. Some sports work better with each one of the different disorders, and as a parent, you need to encourage your child to that perfect match, and never break his illusion to practice a sport. There are many examples of athletes that have a brilliant career in their preferred sport while living within a spectrum.
Advantages of ADHD
- It doesn’t require intense concentration: many sports need short bouts of attention (15 seconds approximately), like swimming, or shorts shifts during the game, like hockey or soccer.
- Heighten awareness of environment: because of their short attention, they take in care all the details of their environments. That’s why they will take great consideration in every aspect of the sport, and every team colleague.
- Ability to do well under pressure: a regular kid will fight and get tired of the pressure, but a kid with ADHD works perfectly with it. They like to be active every minute of the day, and they will feel comfortable with all the heavy training and agendas, just keep your kid for straining too much.
- Ability to do well in chaos: football could be a mess, and a regular kid will find it strange, but an ADHD kid will find it attractive, they love to fix problems and chaos. They develop well in these environments, so maybe your child could be the next famous quarterback.
- Unique/creative problem solving: a kid with ADHD needs a routine, but they love the creative ones! A sport can give it to them, and the only problem can be that the coach needs to be prepared to change the routines every few months, so the kid doesn’t get bored. Put them in the most difficult and demanding practices, and they will get a unique way to face them. That’s why strategies sports are the best in this case.
- Quick speed/reaction time: swimming and hockey are sports that need speed and quick reactions, and kids with ADHD can develop these characteristics and honed them for their advantages. Michael Phelps is a good example.
- Lack of concern about losing at the moment: ADHD kids won’t need the feel of victory at the beginning, so while they become the best in that sport, they will only enjoy the rush and adrenaline of playing a sport.
Advantages of ASD
- Over-focusing on technical aspects: every sport is very technical. Kids with ASD, especially Asperger, will put all their effort to learn the rules and the techniques, and possible they could get a perfectionist streak, that could be dangerous in certain situations. However, that’s what will make them the best in their fields. Clay Marzo is a living proof of this.
- Practicing for a longer time: what respectable coach doesn’t want their athletes to practice 24/7? And ASD brings them to that fine line between being good with the practice and being a monster with only one thought: to be the best. ASD athletes’ coaches need to be very synchronized with their athletes’ needs before they burn themselves.
- Hyperfocusing when necessary: every athlete needs to have complete concentration, but ASD athletes manage this as an art, and it’s very natural for them. A pitcher with a full count, a quarterback facing a disaster game, a soccer player with penalty definition, and even quiet sports like chess or archery will need a total concentration. Kids with ASD will use their hyper-focusing to face these situations.
- Greater ability to stay calm due to having less emotional responses: ASD kids don’t show emotions as regular kids do, so when practicing sports they will never have to be worried about feelings. They face the games or competitions with a cold mind, and even if they lose, they will move on to the next target on the list.
Kids with ASD and ADHD could be the best athletes out there. They just need the correct people around, the right motivation, and the best encouragement; that way they could have a fantastic career and make their countries and family proud. Come to Autism Soccer and get the right opportunities for your children, keep in touch with us through our social networks, to find more articles and special topics.
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