Sports can be a fun way to exercise, build confidence, build relationships, learn self-regulation skills, and create lifelong habits of healthy living.

We know that regular exercise is good for the brain. It helps with memory, concentration, and mood, among other things. ASIE believes it is important ALL individuals are able to access sports and recreation.  Here are a few hints when considering different sports:

  • Very often, coaches are volunteers who may or may not have information about the special needs of their student athletes. In some instances, it’s not necessary that coaches know all the details of such needs, but very often the information about how a student athlete learns and processes information or regulates behavior and emotions can be very useful to a coach. The more a coach knows about how a child learns, the more effective that coach can be in working with the child.
  • Individuals with autism may have trouble processing incoming language and information (receptive language) or they have trouble getting the information or language back out (expressive language)—or sometimes both.  This can affect them when playing on a field or court where the coach is calling out plays or instructions  from the sideline or in the huddle.  Think about how many team sports require children to remember multi-step plays with specific vocabulary.
  • Each sport has its own set of vocabulary and rules (all language based).  Individuals with autism may need repetition and even visual supports to help them learn the rules and vocabulary.

We have a list of resources that are “autism friendly,” but also check your city’s Park and Recreation Department.  Many will have adaptive sports, special needs programs, or your child or the adult may be able to participate in the typical class.

For more information Regarding Sports and Autism:

“The Best Sports for Kids with Sensory Needs” BY Luaren Drobnjak –

The Autism Society Inland Empire Autism (ASIE) maintains these Resource Listings as a service to families as a reference tool. Every effort is made to ensure listings are up-to-date. ASIE does not endorse or claim to have personal knowledge of the abilities of those listed. The resources listed are not intended as a recommendation, referral, or endorsement of any resource or as a tool for verifying the credentials, qualifications, or abilities of any organization, product or professional. Users are urged to use independent judgment and request references when considering any resource associated with diagnosis or treatment of autism, or the provision of services related to autism.