The dilemma at our house right now is whether my son will continue with gymnastics or move to wrestling. Last year in middle school he manged to do both but now that he is in high school and the homework is exponentially longer, both is just not a choice. This is a major decision!
I do not claim to be any kind of expert when it comes to raising an Aspie kid but one of the best things I did was find this kid a sport. As a high school teacher, I know that a sport in a kids life really helps them stay grounded and focused. Know this comes from a woman who never played a sport in high school – as my friends say with sympathy “I never had a number.” So over the years we had my son try on a few sports.
When he was 4 we tried soccer. One practice was all we needed to realize even warm fuzzy soccer was not for him. We moved to t-ball and though he played a season, his lack of coordination and ability to focus on the game when he was in the outfield squashed that idea. Next came Tae Kwon Do. Now, this was a great one for my child! It helped with focus and coordination and was active and fun. We had an amazing instructor and my husband and daughter took the classes as well. When asked why I did not join in, I would remind people that everyone in my house was out at the same time. ALONE time for me!! Very rare commodity.
Sadly, our instructor moved to California, the school changed and no one really liked the new teacher. I learned something very important in this time though. My son needed what we came to call a Team Non-Team sport. This is a sport where you have a team for support and camaraderie but the sport is performed individually. Tennis is a good example (except for doubles) and so are golf, gymnastics, and wrestling. This gives you people connections and a group with which you have a common goal but the responsibility of your score rests entirely on yourself.
Luckily for us, my son had watched his sister do gymnastics and one day decided he wanted to try. We have spent 5 years now at the sport. He was invited to the boys team and has worked his way up to level 6. Boys gymnastics is much more low-key than girls and the whole experience has been wonderful. We have had an amazing coach and the activity itself gave my son strength and self confidence. We had gymnastics through all of middle school while he was dealing with hormones and body changes. He is so at home in his body and that is such a blessing.
Over the summers, my son has participated in many different camps sponsored by the athletics at our high school. He has done football camp – this is mostly drills, not team activities – tennis camp, and recently wrestling camp. He really likes wrestling and now it is time for some choices. Gymnastics competition season collides with wrestling season and he just can’t do both.
My son’s long term goal right now is to go to the North Carolina School of Science and Math – a boarding school for 11th and 12th grade that is funded by the state. There is a wrestling team there and that is part of the big decision. As his mom I wish I could make this decision for him but this is just one of those times he will have to do this on his own. Ugh. Wish us luck!
To parents of Aspie’s, try your best to find them a sport. Hobbies are tough to come by for many Aspie’s – too easy to get lost in the computer soaking in lots and lots of facts. Sample a few different things. Many places will let you try for a short time. Trust me, the time and money we have put into this has been SO worth it. Good luck and blessings to all of you.
~ The Mildly Manic Mom