Some people say it’s an epidemic. There is still no known cause for why it strikes one child but not another, and there is no cure. To make things even more frightening, current statistics show that 2 to 6 children of every 1,000 will be diagnosed with it. And males are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with it than females.
We’re talking about autism.
Children born with this serious, life-altering neurological disorder will often exhibit symptoms of autism by age 3. Often they do not respond normally to verbal cues, they avoid eye contact, their verbal skills may be delayed or even non-existent and they may get fussy when they are cuddled.
Not only is the diagnosis far too frequent but also, as a neurological condition, it never affects children in the same way or to the same degree. In the medical world, the term “Autism spectrum” is applied to explain that the degree of autism may be very slight or very severe, with lots of inconsistencies in between.
One form of autism, which applies to higher functioning children, is known as Asbergers Syndrome. Children with this form of autism are often more verbal and more willing to communicate and interact with the world around them. They often have a very high level of intelligence and very specific gifts and talents.
However, like children who fall into other areas of the autism spectrum, kids who have been diagnosed with Asbergers Syndrome are usually developmentally delayed. Their gross motor skill development is delayed- meaning the use of large muscles is awkward.
Delays in social skills is another way that kids with Asbergers Syndrome struggle. They may be very uncomfortable with peer interaction. They may have trouble reading social cues and be confused when their peers react in certain ways. They may struggle to play appropriately with other kids.
And so if you are the parent of a child with autism, some time with a basketball and an adjustable you-sized hoop like a Goalrilla Basketball Goal may hold a lot more opportunities than you ever dreamed possible.
Obviously, you know your child best. Introduce him to the basketball, encourage him to throw it, kick it, bounce it. Encourage him to aim for the basketball hoop and when he gets a basket, sound like you’re throwing a party for his accomplishment.
Teach your child that age-old game of Horse, where you move around the goal, taking turns to make shots at the hoop. You are teaching him the skills of waiting for his turn, listening and following directions. Each time he handles the basketball, even if he is chasing after it, his muscles are developing and strengthening. He is gaining the ability to better work with his own body and become more coordinated. You are also helping your child to develop confidence. He is learning about a game, and you are bragging on him every single time he takes a try- whether he makes a basket or not.
When your child’s anxiety level about learning to play basketball begins to decrease, consider inviting one or two kids his age to join you under the basketball goal. During this time, you can observe your child’s social needs and guide him toward a better understanding of how to successfully play a game with other children.
Here at the Basketball Goal Store, we know basketball courts used by families are more than just another game – they are for creating memories, helping your children grow and develop and making parenting fun!
-Pat of the Basketball Goal Store Blog Team