A Can-Do Approach to Autistic Children and Athletics

by AlexusF on December 16, 2016 - 12:12pm


Nathan Buffie is a sixteen year old autistic boy who's decided to push beyond what is expected of him. He is on the Bloomington High School swim team and even though he knows he’s the worst on the team, doesn’t always line up when he should, and has problems controlling his voice, he still pushes to contribute. This is not only an accomplishment for Nathan alone but for other children with autism who are believed to be unable to participate in extracurricular activities. Even though children with autism are hard to motivate and can be resistant it is good to give them a little push towards physical education programs to dull common repetitive behaviors. Repetitive behaviors can consist of hand flapping, rocking and head banging which can sometimes become dangerous depending on how frustrated or uncomfortable the child may be.Finding adapted sports program can be a very hard thing for parents to do and might not be at the top of their list. These parents already have so many other aspects of their child's life to worry about that physical activities don't seem to be as important. Yet in reality studies from 1980 have discovered physical activities can increase attention span and reduce repetitive behaviors. From doing this one thing a lot of a parents stressors related to their autistic child can be relieved. This article caught my attention because I can relate to it due to the fact that my brother has autism. Granted he is low on the spectrum but it's still something that has affected him since he feels as though the word “autism” defines who he is. Any sort of disability should not define a person, it's the way people react to experiences and the way they treat others. I completely agree with everything this article has said. My brother recently started to play basketball and he seems to be getting very accustomed to working with others while learning needed skills. This article will prevent people from believing that anyone with any type of disability is unable to participate in certain activities. People with disabilities deserve to be looked at the same as people without them. I feel as though the next generation will be less prejudice towards people who have a disability. I believe research about autism should veer towards studying other ways to help autistic children deal with everyday life without drugs. While reading this article it seems as though a really good support system can cause a positive change in helping an autistic child deal with life. It's clear that there are alternatives to calming the effects of autism without voiding a person of emotions by using drugs. People with disabilities should be treated the same way as people who don't have any because they may be different but that doesn't make them less of a person. I understand that parents will have plenty of responsibility and difficulties with an autistic child but why ‘take the easy way out’ by providing these children anti psychotics among other drugs that can produce fatigue and weight gain when exercise is a natural solution?


This is such a great article, Alexus. I sometimes feel that modern medicine looks at a very narrow picture of "normal" both physically and mentally and then decides to add drugs to make anyone outside of the range appear more inside. Perhaps the challenge is to widen the range and to utilize drugs as an alternative rather than the first choice. I love the idea of sports as an alternative choice. Thanks for posting this.

Alexus your article choice was great. Totally agree with you that people with disabilities should be treated as "normal" and I believe that experimental treatments can be way more beneficial than drugs in most cases.

My son has mild autism and took up soccer this past fall and i have to agree with you they need to be treated normal. Going into the soccer season thru the town i was questioned on whether i thought my son was capable of actively participating on the team. and right i made sure he was there and it may have took him extra work but he ended up doing well and it would get me so mad because they wanted to treat him different from the others. I am preferable holistic before medication. i will use foods and naturals before thinking about any thing including over the counter medications and sports as i proved to this league are a good outlet for him and he is capable when given the chance. This article was a great choice and i love the idea it presents thank you for bringing it to our attention!

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