I am torn because parents are so in to winning. He is only 6 years old and already competition is fierce. I have been told that he is too High Functioning to be on a special needs team and he needs to be around typical kids in order to gain social skills. Any thoughts on this?
Our 11 year old Aspie son has played on regular teams for soccer, football, and baseball over the past 6 years. Honestly, I really think it depends on the coach. We have had really bad experiences (tackled and got a concussion on the sidelines by a bully) and absolutely amazing experiences and it all came down to the coach and other kids on the team. It only took a few seasons for him to pick soccer so that's been our only sport the past few years. It's been helpful for him to see how "typical" kids behave on and off the field.
My Aspie son is 9. We have played soccer and baseball on regular teams. We have had mostly great experiences with our teams. The coaches have been wonderful. The kids this time on our soccer team were a bit judgemental about my son because he is different. They laughed at him because he can't tie his shoes yet. That was hard for him. My son is very competitive. He gets upset when he does something wrong. And he always wants to win. I know that it is hard to see the other kids treat him differently but I think it is good for him. This is how life is and the more we mainstream them now, the easier it will be later. I know his social skills have gotten better because of it.
My son started in competitive gymnastics at age 6. We started in the recreation program and he really enjoyed it. He also has ADJD and we wanted him to have a positive place for all that energy. While we never thought he was particularly good at it, it was clear gymnastics was something he enjoyed and the 1-2hr/week recreation class just wasn't enough for him.
He has had some struggles with the other boys, but one boy who has been with him since he started is now one of his best buds there.
At times we take breaks when my son needs it, but for the most part he loves, loves, loves it! :)
A major factor for us was the coach. We are so lucky to have such a great coach who really gets our son as well as the other boys. There was a time I the spring when he was not here due to immigration issues and the coach that took his place was not a good fit for us. Brandyn actually started saying he hated gymnastics, but once our regular coach had returned, so did Brandyn's love for the sport.
As far as team sports, we haven't had much success there, although he did indoor soccer for a season where he discovered that he quite enjoyed being the goalie.
Both my son's have played on a regular team. My oldest (aspergers) loves it and continues to want to play sports with his regular peers. My middle son (PDD-NOS) hated it and has since chosen to play individual sports (running is his cup of tea). He has asked to try basketball and our local Y team is a good mixture of special needs and general peers so we might give it a try but I honestly don't think he will like it because he can't stand noise and crowds. I am very involved in all they do so my presence is always know on the field and off.
Yes, with high functioning I've always been told to go with higher functioning because if your child is the highest functioning in his group he won't grow and learn. They look at others to learn. How odd I was the only mother with my child on the soccer field physically helping get him involved. All the other moms would laugh at me. But I didn't care. The owner of the league didn't care. So it was lovely. :)