There are a ton of sports for autistic kids in Hampton Roads. Believe it or not, we even have pickleball. As well as running, dance, gymnastics, soccer, and baseball. A skateboard club is in the works too! This is massive for our autism community. Just five years ago, all we had was POWER, which is a running group at Mt. Trashmore, and TopSoccer at the Hampton Roads Soccer Complex. And if I had to pick, POWER was my favorite.
Below is a list of autism-friendly sports currently in Hampton Roads. If you have any questions or want to add yours, please get in touch with us.
Sports for Autistic Kids in Hampton Roads
Adaptive Gymnastics at Excalibur Gymnastics (Spring)
Adaptive Gymnastics at Excalibur Gymnastics (Summer)
P.O.W.E.R – Running Group for all Abilities (Spring)
Champion Baseball Team (All Abilities/Virginia Beach)
Soccer in Newport News: GonnawannaGOALagin’
Soccer in Virginia Beach: GonnawannaGOALagin’
Open Sports Clinic (Virginia Beach)
Dance Class (All Abilities/Virginia Beach)
GonnawannaMOVEagin’- Body Movement Class
Pickleball Autism Clinic (Free/Virginia Beach)
Why Is It So Hard to Find and Participate in Sports?
For years, there just wasn’t a lot of autistic-friendly sports available. With so many organizations offering sports like, FACT (Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater), Camp Grom, Aid Another, Hope House, Tidewater Strider, and Excalibur Gyms, there are many sports for autistic kids in Hampton Roads.
Now, finding the time, energy, and interests is another story. So many autistic kids are in OT, PT, Speech, and play, mental health, behavioral, or ABA therapy. Working around everyone’s schedule is beyond hard. Trying to identify one sporting interest can be a lifelong search. There are other obstacles to sports for autistic kids too. Some of our kids have low muscle tone, vestibular problems or poor coordination, sensory issues, and other disabilities. The kids often give up. On the plus side, autism-friendly sports like running or swimming are long-time favorites because they get to be alone and progress at their speed and still get the social benefits of being on a team.
How Do Autistic Kids Excel in Sports?
Tony Attwood says it bests. This video is so informative, I shared it every year at the beginning of the school year. It gave teachers a different perspective on autism.
Lastly, A Real Life Excelling Story
These things don’t happen to us, so here’s a feel good moment. My son’s obsession is sports. He can recite any statistic for any team in any sport. His all time favorite is any team from Boston, the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Bruins, and the Celtics. He knows it all and has tried his hand at most sports. He’s lettered in tennis, golf (x2), and baseball. Today while at work (he’s working on a tree farm, today selling Christmas trees) he recognizes the head baseball coach for Radford college and introduces himself. They talk about baseball and he’s asked what position he plays. He tells him that he is a catcher and 3rd baseman but follows with “I’ve got a pretty mean curve ball and drop pitch”. They talk and Logan sells him the biggest Christmas tree on the lot. Coach hands him a $20 tip and a business card. He tell Logan to get in contact and come to Radford so that they can see him on their field. Logan tells him that he’s only a Junior. Coach says it doesn’t matter they are interested. My son is on cloud 9 tonight. And I am over the top happy for him.
– Alicia Frye, Spectrum Parents Mom
I hope you find something that your kiddo will love from this list! If You’d like less structured activities, sensory or social activities might work. And always…have fun, take it one day at a time, and do it again tomorrow!
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