Originally Posted by Ben Kissam
I've taught inclusive physical education classes in the past, giving me the opportunity to work with students of various needs all in one classroom.
Some tips that come to mind right away:
- Set small goals. Until you learn the ins and outs of what motivates your child, you will probably experience times where it's difficult to get them to buy in. Small, attainable goals (sometimes with a reward at the end) are a good way to build up the intrinsic motivation.
- Relate fitness to something your kid already loves. This goes along with the incentive and rewards idea. They aren't necessarily earning something every time they succeed, but come up with ways to relate working out to things that already are super "cool" in their mind.
- Consider starting with the locomotor skills before you dive into more challenging fitness concepts- running, jumping, hopping, skipping, sliding, etc. At one point, I worked with 5-6 year olds with special needs and this was their favorite part of PE.
Hope this helps! I'd love to hear how this progresses.
I concur with Ben. Although I only had two teen athletes with autism, I found that motor skill development was a must to begin. Agility ladder drills and jump rope were their favorites. I'd use colored footprints for a visual aid when using the ladders.
Fitness games and puzzles were another staple, along with core development. I limited the use of weights but eventually incorporated some dumbbell movements into my program.
Breaking Muscle had a fantastic piece on training autistic athletes but you have to be an active subscriber to the coaching section.