Brain & Nervous System Autism Living With Print Teaching Kids With Autism How to Play Soccer Playing soccer can improve many skills By Lisa Jo Rudy Updated December 20, 2017 More in Autism Living With Causes & Risk Factors Diagnosis Treatment/Therapy Symptoms Support & Coping Autism & Family Life Adult Autism High-Functioning Autism View All Many kids with autism can learn to play soccer, but they'll likely need extra support and visual tools. Soccer can help improve your child's motor skills, endurance, strength, and coordination. Playing on a team also gives your child a chance to work on social skills and communication with his or her teammates. Here are some tips to help your child learn to play soccer or include kids with autism in your soccer games. Including Children with Autism in Your Soccer Game Getty Here's what it takes to include a child with autism in a game of soccer: Children with autism can have a tough time processing language. That means that if you say something once, they probably won't take in your meaning and respond. You'll need to say the same thing several times and use some visuals to help break down the information.Children with autism have a hard time imitating. That means that telling a child with autism to "watch me and do what I do" may not be effective. You may need to give him step-by-step instruction, providing physical and visual help as you go along.Children with autism may not have the same level of strength or coordination as other children their age. Even if they don't do a terrific job of dribbling or passing, it's important to provide positive feedback and constructive support.Children with autism have a tough time reading body language. You will likely need to explain how to tell that another child is ready for the ball or about to pass the ball to them. Teach the Real Basics of Soccer Visuals for Teaching Soccer Basics. Explorations Unlimited LLC What is a soccer ball? What is a goal? What are you supposed to do with the ball and how? The answers to these questions may seem obvious, but for children with autism, it's important to show and tell even the basics. That's partly because kids on the spectrum may not have the same opportunities as other kids to watch and learn—they're too busy with therapy! Teach How to Dribble a Soccer Ball Visuals for Teaching Dribbling Skills. Explorations Unlimited LLC Use this poster to provide a visual reference for the process of dribbling. Make sure children understand that they're to use one foot after the other, keeping control at all times. Teach How to Kick a Soccer Ball Visuals for Teaching Kicking Skills. Explorations Unlimited LLC Use this poster to provide a visual reference for the process of kicking a ball into the goal. Be sure children fully understand the reasons for kicking the ball into the goal (to score points for their team). Be sure, too, that they understand the idea that you will change goals at halftime. Teach How to Pass a Soccer Ball Visuals for Teaching Passing Skills. Explorations Unlimited LLC Use this poster to provide a visual reference for the process of kicking a ball into the goal. Be sure children can recognize teammates and have mastered the complex skill of making eye contact to telegraph "I'm about to pass this ball to you." Help them to predict where the ball needs to be (or will be) several seconds into the future. Discuss the idea that teamwork involves sharing the ball, not just running down the field like crazy. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Autism Soccer. 10 Reasons to Enroll Your Kid. 2017.