Today is World Autism Day. Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disability wherein people have trouble with social skills, communication skills and developing relationships. As per International Clinical Epidemiology Network’s survey findings reported in 2013, autism affects 1 in every 68 children born today.

Over 70% of people with autism have learning difficulties. Therefore, whatever their overall abilities are, they share a common challenge when it comes to making sense of things the way common people do. Autism can be diagnosed certainly in children at an early age of two, but, most are not diagnosed till five. However, in India, age can go up to even later because of lack of awareness, stigma and more often than not denial.

Autism being a complex learning disorder, autistic kids may find it easy to engage in some sports more than others. There is a constant need to encourage physical activity among autistic children because of the limited number of sports they can involve themselves. There are some great possibilities too despite the challenges.

Playing team sports is often a challenge for kids with autism. These kids generally have issues with following instructions. They may not understand the rules and react if they are changed. They have a difficulty being part of a team and also working together in a group. They may tend to avoid interactions and eye contact from time to time.
Parents and schools should start preparing autistic kids well in advance so that they are prepared for sporty situations. Encouraging them to play and reminding them after certain intervals what they need to do in a particular sport is a great habit. Schools and parents should promote sports among these kids. Engaging them in role plays also help them to get adjusted to rules and nature of any sport.

While team sports which are loud in nature like cricket, football, basketball may be a task for autistic children, team sports like swimming, badminton, athletics, cycling would be a great pick to get them started. It’s great if schools and parents continuously and positively condition autistic kids in different forms of playing activities.

More power to autistic people!

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