The Blueberry Plant is anything other than blue now.

That looks too like a Liverpool and Manchester United shirt for my liking. But it’s still better than that black and white barcode which your team wears. Watching barcodes run about a pitch must give you headaches.

That Football team of mine just gives me headaches period.

Son has set his heart on playing football for a team. Over the last few months we’ve tried to kick as many footballs around as the weather has permitted. It hasn’t been easy for him. Difficulties with coordination makes playing any ball sport a tough ask. That’s the issues facing many kids with Autism and Dyspraxia.

But there is hope. For a start dyslexia is not a barrier to sport. So many positive examples.

  • Kenny Logan – 70 Caps for Scotland (Rugby Union)
  • Scott Quinell – multiple caps for Wales in both Rugby Union and League
  • Lewis Hamilton – 5 time F1 World Champion
  • Magic Johnson
  • The great Mohammad Ali

In terms of autism it allows you to see the world in different and imaginative ways. This can be such an advantage in sport. Psychologists believe that some of the greatest sporting talents may be on the spectrum. They can see opportunities that other teammates just can’t pick out. It’s speculated that one of the greatest footballers on the planet (maybe the best) is on the spectrum.

Our son is tall for his age and very slim. He seemed the perfect shape for a modern style goalkeeper. So that’s what we started with. This also made it easier as we could just focus on his hand to eye coordination. For years he couldn’t catch a ball. But for ages now he has been bouncing a bouncy ball on our pavement. With hard work he now has really good catching skills. Then he started trying to catch a tennis ball while bouncing on his trampoline. Again after a lot of hard work he now is great at diving and catching one handed. So the next stage was to change the bouncy ball and tennis ball for a football. Quite quickly he managed to start catching two handed.

A small goal was bought for the garden and I started hitting some soft shots at

him. With hard work he can now dive and make some great saves. He’s now better than I was at his age.

But now he wants to see if he can play as a midfielder.

That would be cool dad.

This is a harder challenge for him as he still struggles coordinating his feet to kick a ball properly. But let’s see what we can do about that. Any skills he learns with his feet will be useful if he goes back to goalkeeping as these days they need to be comfortable passing and dribbling.

This year he has started going to the football club at school. It’s a steep learning curve. Suddenly it’s not just his dad, the dog and the ball. It’s lots of moving bodies, so unpredictable and loads of shouting. The shouting really disoriented him on his first session. He played one short game in midfield.

Dad I didn’t touch the ball but wow did I look good…. (said with a smile)

He went in goal and made some good saves but

I took a goal kick but the defender didn’t see me pass to him and the striker got the ball and scored. The teacher shouted that it was my fault.

Unfortunately too much shouting and blame goes with kids football in our country. Kids should be encouraged to try things, make mistakes and learn from them. Unfortunately too many are scared of making errors. You don’t make dreams come true by shouting at kids. At least son could see the wider picture.

Typical the other team scores and everyone blames the keeper even when it’s not his fault. What did you do when they blamed you for letting a goal in. I bet you let too many goals in.

Oh I just smiled, clapped my hands and immediately forgot about the goal. You move on and think about the next shot. (That’s not the whole story. I was a bit of a hot head back then and I would threaten to stick the ball up the backside of anyone who blamed me. But I won’t tell him that.)

So fingers crossed for the next club session.

76 thoughts on “Autism and football

  1. I’m very tall so you’d assume I’d be a good goalie. But I often played in defence because my lankiness got in the way of the strikers! I’ve pretty much retired from football now though! All the best to your son with his footballing- the main thing is that he enjoys it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow !! So excellent that he has started playing foot ball with a team. Kids sports has a lots of pressure on the kids in western countries, but if he – and you _ can just hang in there and keep the big picture in mind, he will gain so much in social and physical skills.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great photo of the blueberry bush! – We can learn something from it – Just because we’re a blueberry doesn’t mean we always have to be ‘blue’ (or green!) to be appreciated. πŸ˜‰

    As long as it is kept fun, team sports are going to be able to offer him some great opportunities. For those on the autism spectrum they can pose particular difficulties that the more individual events (like golf, F1 and boxing) might have less of. Having to rely upon other team members and sharing in with their highs and lows equally with your own is not always easy.

    You’ve done well so far helping him gain more skills he will need in life and i have no doubt you will continue to help him meet new challenges and overcome them. πŸ™‚

    (As long as he doesn’t want to attend a cookery course, of course!!) πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Do they offer scholarships?? πŸ™‚

        Maybe he can practice on Captain Chaos??

        (I would have suggested with you – but we don’t want him to get overconfident to quickly – do we?? ) πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, a striker can miss a bucketload but score the winner and it’s all fine. A goalie can make lots of saves but let one in and he’s terrible. Wish him well whatever position he chooses to be in long term πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is really great! I hope he keeps up with it! I love to hear him talk about how good he looks – makes me smile πŸ™‚ Cate plays soccer too – and she has the same problem. She is soooooo uncoordinated. When it comes to tryouts and skill work the coaches always tell her she has a lot of work to do and may be sitting the bench a lot. But when it comes to the actual GAME – it’s like a firecracker gets set off and she’s all over the field (in a good way). Aggressive, energetic and smart. We keep getting directed to do ladder workouts at home with her to help with coordination. That’s always an idea to help your son too? I dunno – it’s just great to hear he’s enjoying it all so much πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

      1. We do have one of those and she does use it – more than she enjoys doing ladder work, for sure. She is – she got into a bit of a confusing social incident last night with a few teammates and came to the crying – but an hour of texting later found her to be in smiles again so I think it all worked out. Overall, I think it really does boost her confidence. I hope the same for your son!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t. I never played – the first time I was allowed to sign up for a sport was when I was in seventh grade and they didn’t have a girls soccer team. I took right to track and running. I tried lacrosse for a season – and then went right back to running.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. A little. I haven’t run outside, just been keeping my miles to my flat treadmill. And I have been keeping the miles low. Stayed at 25 last week and I am off today. It’s definitely swollen – you can’t see my ankle bone which is prominent on the other side. I think we have two more weeks of 80 degree heat, which I will nurse with low miles. Because once the heat breaks it will be hard to not want to run longer and outside. How about you? Have your runs been okay? Not hurting yourself with them?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Like you trying to keep the distance down. So just running Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Exercise bike other days. Making sure I walk on any uneven ground. Our weather has broken today so it’s much cooler. Going to be tough not wanting to run on rest days. When my ankle was stuffed the physio got me to spend a couple of minutes each day to slowly do controlled step ups to a low stepper. Over time seemed to strengthen the joint.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful post. I did get a little teary eyed reading it but in a good way. The drive to learn and expand his horizons and how he looks at things and his sense of humor all make your son a remarkable young man. You do have a lot to do with that as well. This was such a nice post not about that dodgy school system you have. Put a smile on my face. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Apart from wisdom and selfless love, this is what makes you Dad of the Year: perseverance, determination and patience. In a couple of hours, I go to Maths Struggle with one of my kids. I’m going to take a leaf out of your Book of Patience, and be a better mum. My kid needs it. She has a school full of numpties playing at being teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

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