Children With Dyspraxia and Sports
If a child has Dyspraxia can they do sports?
Here we discuss why children with Dyspraxia should participate in sports, and dig into which sports would be beneficial to their needs.
Can You Do Sports If You Have Dyspraxia?
Of course you can! But you may struggle with a lot of them.
Dyspraxia can cause poor coordination and makes you appear clumsy.
It also can affect balance, which can cause issues with walking and running. People with Dyspraxia can also suffer from fatigue.
Where their muscles become tired very quickly.
Now, if you have problems with coordination, balance, walking and running you may believe you won’t be able to participate in sports.
There is also the issue with personal belief. At school, they may see other children excelling in sports. In P.E they may struggle and some times get teased.
Having a reputation of not being good at sports and then in a game where the other children have to pick teams no one wants to be picked last.
No one wants to be the kid that no one wants.
But if you are constantly being last, or even hearing other children argue about having you on their team, isn’t very nice at all.
If you are a child with Dyspraxia the chances are that this happening when you are playing sports.
Do Children With Dyspraxia Want To Play Sports?
Children with Dyspraxia are normal children. Because they have difficulties with certain things, it doesn’t make them different.
Sport is a huge thing. In the UK Football is very popular.
Working in football I see children from the age of 4 who are obsessed with it. Children with Dyspraxia are no different!
They support teams, have the kits, have favourite players and want to be professional footballers too.
But other sports are massive too. And that means that there will be a child with Dyspraxia who is dreaming of being the best in that sport.
Why Is Sports Good For Children With Dyspraxia?
Sports, in general, are good for everybody. They keep you active, fit and are also brilliant for social development.
If a child suffers from Dyspraxia they may find that all of their friends participate in sports and that they are left out.
No child wants to feel left out and isolated, but for a child with Dyspraxia this may occur quite often.
Some children may suffer from poor hand-eye coordination, so sports that don’t solely rely on this could be beneficial.
Competitiveness may be an issue, where they don’t enjoy being in a competitive environment.
So a sport where they don’t have to necessarily have to be competitive.
They may feel more at home being part of a team. Where there isn’t as much focus on them individually.
Being involved in sports and being surrounded in their environments, I have seen how the competitive focus overpowers the fun side very often.
Fun should be the main focus in sports. Even more so for a child with Dyspraxia. You want your child to have fun and enjoy something.
For them to get excited about going and taking part in a sport.
Meeting new people, learning new skills and not having everything they do be based around their Dyspraxia.
Why not have a read our post on Dyspraxia, to find out more about it?
What Sports Can Children With Dyspraxia Do?
Children with Dyspraxia can do any sports. Everybody is different and some children with Dyspraxia may struggle with different symptoms than someone else with Dyspraxia.
Like everybody else, if you constantly struggle with something you will end up not enjoying, and not sticking with it.
Someone with problems with balance may not enjoy skiing or gymnastics.
If they have problems with coordination, tennis or cricket may not be enjoyable for them.
How do you find a sport that they will enjoy?
Ask them. They may want to do a certain sport. They might have friends that do a sport that they want to try.
If they don’t, speak to them about what they may be interested in trying.
Watch some videos with your child and see if they like anything they see.
“I don’t want my child to do a violent sport” I can hear you saying.
Don’t worry, there are many forms of martial arts. And you don’t just walk into a gym/dojo and go straight into fighting.
I used to do Karate, and I found it very fun.
In fact, I loved it! We learnt and practised lots of different skills and moves. I used to practise and compete “Katas”.
Which are a sequence of moved put into a routine. Yes, I used to compete! And I really did enjoy it.
But you can do martial arts and not have to compete. They can train and learn the sport without the stress of competition.
For a child with Dyspraxia, to learn skills that could improve their co-ordination and balance, maybe this could be a sport for them.
Again swimming could be a very good sport for a child with Dyspraxia. No worries about balance. Nothing to fall and bang their head on!
Swimming is a very good sport for stamina and muscle grown.
So for someone who has muscle fatigue issues, to go and swim some widths or lengths, it can help build up their muscles. While also allowing them to take a little break when needed.
If they know how to swim, they can go to a swimming club and learn different types of strokes. They even don’t have to join a club.
You could make it a family activity, take the whole family and make it a weekly activity.
If they don’t know how to swim. Chances are you’ve held it off, as you may think that they will struggle to learn.
Why not try swimming lessons?
They can learn how to swim in a group with other children, where they also can be developing their social skills.
You might not believe it but running could be a great sport for a child with Dyspraxia.
“But my child trips and falls over all of the time”.
Clumsiness can be a regular occurrence for a child with Dyspraxia. But they could still participate in running activities.
I used to fall over EVERYTHING when I was a child.
When we used to do cross-country I never finished, as I just kept tripping over.
But once we did a race on an athletics track at school. I managed to run around it without falling over!
So I enjoyed it, as I knew I could do it. Ok, I wasn’t amazing at it, but I could run without tripping over.
You might be thinking, how can you trip over all of the time. With a child with Dyspraxia, even a slight change in the surface can cause them to trip.
Maybe try an athletics club and see if your child enjoys it.
This may be a shock for you, as again thinking of the symptoms of Dyspraxia, you may never dream of letting your child ride a bike.
Again, if your child hasn’t learnt to ride a bike, it can be something you do together.
For them to learn to ride a bike will give them a huge boost of self-confidence. It’s one thing that can seem so easy to do, but for a child with Dyspraxia it may be a bit more difficult.
When they have learnt how to ride a bike you could go on bike rides together.
By doing this you are with them at first. To make sure they are safe, but also they are learning how to ride out on the streets if that is something they want to do.
They might want to ride a mountain bike off-road. Through the woods etc. Which takes them away from the road.
There are loads of cycle clubs as well. So if cycling is something they want to do try looking into that.
All 4 of the sports above are great sports for anyone to do. But they are also “Lifestyle” sports, which can be carried on into older ages. So that they have something they can keep on doing and keep enjoying.
Can you drive when you have Dyspraxia? Read our post about Driving with Dyspraxia.
We must not isolate children with Dyspraxia, where we decide that they can’t do certain sports as they won’t be good at them.
The main shouldn’t be if they will be good at something. Let them take part and if it isn’t for them, try something else.
Majority of boys and girls love Football. Girls football is now becoming very popular, which is fantastic as it encourages equal opportunities, which is desperately needed.
There are tonnes of clubs around the country, there is after school football groups.
There are also football groups where it is only about the training.
Where they work on learning to play football and building up the confidence and learning the basic skills.
I’m involved with one of these clubs where we work on different things. And they don’t have to play for a team, we just work on learning the game in the right atmosphere.
This may be great for a child with Dyspraxia.
I played a lot of football. I learnt what my strengths were and what I wasn’t good at. So if I could play football, other children with Dyspraxia can too.
Another sport that could be really good for children with Dyspraxia. There are different forms of gymnastics, not just Artistic gymnastics that you see at the Olympics.
Trampolining can be very good, as it works on core strength and spacial awareness.
A lot of clubs do beginner lessons, where anyone can come along and take part.
Which can be a good thing, so if they go a few times and decide they don’t enjoy it, they can try something else.
Every child deserves to take part in sports if they want to. That definitely includes children that suffer from Dyspraxia.
So look into some of the sports that I have listed above, and see if your child would like to try one. Or all of them!!
I do want to highlight again, that sports should be fun, where they focus on learning skills, social development and just enjoy being involved in something.
If we start to put pressure onto a child with Dyspraxia, we could start to encourage issues with anxiety and nervousness.
Just let them have fun, and if they do start to become competitive, that’s great too.
I hope you have found this post useful?
Do you have a child with Dyspraxia that takes part in a sport?
Please let us know, we love to hear your stories.
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