People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a communicative disorder of the brain. These disorders span a very wide spectrum from above average intelligence to mild, moderate and severe autism. Every person with autism shares impairments in social interaction, communication and lack of flexible thinking.

The following guidelines refer to people with a mild or moderate diagnose of autism or people with asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of high functioning autism. These are guidelines only and should be treated as such. Remember each individual may have traits uncommon to others with the same condition.

Eye Contact: People with ASD often make poor eye contact and might look away, giving the impression that they are not listening or are uninterested in what the person may be saying.

Clear Language: People with ASD have a tendency to interpret things literally and may have a problem understanding the humour in jokes, puns etc. This can sometimes cause a problem for coaches and teammates alike. The rule of thumb is to keep it simple and to use direct commands.

There may be a difficulty for some people with ASD in turn taking and some take losing badly. This can cause difficulty for teachers or coaches who might be aware of this. Understanding this problem is half the battle.

People with ASD generally dislike loud noises, crowds and strangers and value their own personal space.

Some people with ASD react negatively to change – they often function best when working to a routine. It is important to remember that any little change can upset that routine.

Some people with ASD can lack social skills and tend not to mix very well, thus need encouragement to become part of a team. Some may prefer solitary sports.

People with ASD can have a very high pain threshold. This is vital to know in relations to sports injuries, they might try to continue a game or particular sport instead of seeking medical attention.

Some people with ASD are persistent talkers and may irritate teammates or coaches but this is something people eventually get used to.

Some have poor motor skills and may appear clumsy or awkward when participating in games or sports and may be easily discouraged if others make fun of them. Sports and games can help their hand eye coordination, motor skills and general fitness and boost their moral and self esteem.