Some kids with autism might find it difficult to understand instructions. They might stand too close, talk too loudly or say things that don’t seem to fit. Here are some simple tips for coaches to help children with autism play NAB AFL Auskick.
Be consistent. Provide predictability by having a consistent routine at each session.
Actions or pictures can speak louder than words. Kids with autism might need to be shown things rather than be told what to do. Consider using a flip chart to show visual instructions when teaching.
Predictability and planning can help children, especially if they have autism. A visual schedule so children know what is happening next can help them with transitions.
Sometimes a strategy developed for one child will be needed. Social stories work well and can be used to teach new skills or to help them understand why and how people play football. Football stories are available on the AllPlay website.
Allow children with autism time to calm down. Some kids might need to take time out from the group and have more breaks to calm themselves if they get overwhelmed. Let them to do this whenever they need.
Remember, every child has the right to be involved in sport, especially a sport like Australian Football. Including children with disabilities is not hard; it just requires understanding.