Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction and behavior. Children with autism can face specific challenges when it comes to participating in sports activities. However, it’s important to stress that sport can offer many benefits to children with autism, both physically and socially and emotionally. In this article, we’ll look at the importance of sports activities for children with autism and give practical advice on how to encourage their participation.

 

The importance of sports activities for autistic children

 

Sports activities offer many advantages for autistic children. As well as the obvious physical benefits, they also promote social, emotional and cognitive development. When they take part in sports activities, autistic children have the opportunity to socialize, boost their self-confidence, improve their motor coordination and develop their concentration.

Sports activities can also help autistic children improve their communication and social interaction skills. By participating in teams or sports groups, autistic children learn to work as a team, follow rules, communicate with their peers and develop problem-solving skills.

 

Encouraging autistic children to take part in sports activities

Encouraging autistic children to take part in sports activities may require adjustments and adaptations to meet their specific needs. Here are a few practical tips to help you get involved:

 

Choose suitable activities

It’s essential to choose sports activities that are adapted to your autistic child’s abilities and interests. Choose activities that encourage social interaction, motor coordination and concentration. Some popular activities for autistic children include swimming, cycling, karate, yoga and soccer.

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Create a favorable environment

Create an environment conducive to your autistic child’s participation. Make sure that the area where sports activities take place is calm, well-organized and free from excessive distractions. If necessary, contact coaches, teachers or activity leaders to inform them of your child’s specific needs and ask for their support in promoting inclusion.

 

Use visual aids

Children with autism can benefit from visual aids to better understand the instructions and routines of sporting activities. Use pictures, pictograms or diagrams to explain the rules of the game, the steps to follow or the exercises to perform. Visual aids help reinforce understanding and predictability, which can reduce anxiety and encourage active participation.

 

Promote inclusion and awareness

Encourage inclusion and awareness within sports teams or groups. Educate coaches, teachers and other children about autism and explain how to interact positively with your child. Encourage tolerance, acceptance and empathy to create an inclusive environment where all children can thrive.

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The benefits of sport for autistic children

 

Sports activities offer many benefits to autistic children, both physically and psychologically. Here are some of the most notable benefits:

  • Developing motor skills: Sports activities help improve motor coordination, balance, muscle strength and body control.
  • Reducing stress and anxiety: Sport provides an emotional outlet, allowing autistic children to release energy and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Improved social skills: Taking part in sports activities encourages social interaction, learning about rules, cooperation and respect for others.
  • Boosting self-confidence: Sporting achievements help to boost the self-confidence and self-esteem of children with autism, enabling them to set goals and achieve them.
  • Development of cognitive skills: Sports activities stimulate the cognitive skills of children with autism, including concentration, planning, problem-solving and decision-making.

Sports activities can play an essential role in the development of autistic children. They offer significant physical, social and emotional benefits, while promoting inclusion and active participation. By choosing appropriate activities, creating a supportive environment, using visual aids and encouraging inclusion, you can help your autistic child reap the full benefits of sport. Remember that every child is unique, so tailor activities to suit their needs and preferences. With your support and a caring approach, your child can flourish and enjoy sports activities to the full.

COCO THINKS and COCO MOVES, educational and sports games

Today, COCO is an application used by autistic children either at home or with a healthcare professional, who may be a speech therapist, occupational therapist, psychologist or psychomotor therapist. All professionals wishing to subscribe to Coco can benefit from a web-based performance tracking platform. It is therefore possible to see the evolution and improvement of people with autism, and thus personalize their care.

Coco goes everywhere with you, because the application doesn’t need Wi-Fi to work, only for updates.

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SPORTS BREAKS BENEFIT AUTISTIC CHILDREN

In COCO, you’ll also find physical activities. Every 15 minutes of screen time, the application stops and offers children physical games.

This sports break has many advantages for children, especially those with autism.

Screen use is very useful and loved by children, but prolonged use can become negative. With Coco, children can take a dynamic break, learning to let go of the tablet and engage in physical activity while having fun at the same time.

All our physical activities are designed with children in mind. With balance and dance games, children learn to know their bodies and adapt to their environment. For children with autism, this can be very useful for augmenting known motor patterns and for gaining a better sense of self (especially when there is hypo or hypersensitivity).

In Coco, there’s also the “mime an emotion” game, where the child has to reproduce the emotion shown on screen by Coco. Children can first learn to name emotions, to recognize them in themselves and then in others. What’s more, there’s an audio description in the game that explains the emotion and what you feel in your body.

In our educational application COCO, you can also learn to recognize your emotions with the game “Mime emotions”, in the COCO MOVES section. By clicking on the question mark, you will be able to learn the different emotions in order to better recognize them.

This game to mime emotions is also accessible as a break, every 15 minutes of screen. Every 15 minutes, children are asked to choose a physical activity for an active break. And you can also mime the emotions at that time!

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In our educational application COCO, you can also learn to recognize your emotions with the game “Mime emotions”, in the COCO MOVES section. By clicking on the question mark, you will be able to learn the different emotions in order to better recognize them.

This game to mime emotions is also accessible as a break, every 15 minutes of screen. Every 15 minutes, children are asked to choose a physical activity for an active break. And you can also mime the emotions at that time!

THE SURPRISE

Surprise means that you are surprised by a moment, a person or an object. Like an unexpected gift!

When you are surprised, you open your mouth and eyes wide.

THE CONFUSION

Confusion is being lost in our ideas because of an event for example. It is possible to make a mistake about the name of someone or something.

To mimic confusion, open your eyes wide, make a big “Hoo” with your mouth and raise your eyebrows.

INSPIRATION

Inspiration is the ability of our mind to imagine and create things like drawings, poems, stories.

For inspiration, we’ll squint our eyes, scratch our heads lightly with a smile and pretend to paint, write or draw.

THE AFFECTION

Affection means to be touched, to have positive thoughts for a friend, family member or pet.

 

Here, we smile, we think about the good times, we can hug, kiss, tell a friend that we like him or her.

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THE BOREDOM

Boredom is present when we are in a situation that does not interest us. You don’t want to listen to the person in front of you or you don’t want to do anything.

For boredom, we’ll blow hard, look up and look around.

THE PAIN

Pain is an unpleasant sensation that can hurt. It can hurt physically with an accident. Pain can also be a feeling of missing someone or something or sadness.

To express the pain we raise the eyebrows upwards, we bend the eyes and we make a grimace with the face.

Discover the application

COCO THINKS and COCO MOVES ©.

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Supporting children with autism

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