Our Autism Story – “Soccer”
Studies have shown that autistic children often have difficulties with gross and fine motor skills such as throwing a ball, running, jumping, and writing.
Brahm has struggled with motor skills. Brahm’s ABA therapists worked with him specifically on throwing a ball and holding a pencil. These activities are really hard for Brahm and require a ton of his focus and patience. He becomes frustrated easily and at times refuses to try.
One of the things constantly on our minds is making sure Brahm has an activity that is his own with social interaction. About a year and a half ago, we became aware of an organization called TOPSoccer. “TOPSoccer is a community-based training program for all athletes with intellectual, emotional, and or physical disabilities. The program strives to provide soccer opportunities (the opportunity of soccer) for players to develop at their own pace in a safe, fun, and supportive/inclusive environment.” TOPSoccer provides the perfect level of support for Brahm. Brahm adores “Coach”, who is patient, encouraging, positive, and reliable. Brahm also has a one-on-one helper that keeps him focused during practice and encourages him when he gets frustrated and wants to quit.
We took Brahm to his first soccer practice about a year and a half ago – He did not want to go, did not want to get out of the car, and did not want to join the practice. After a lot of encouragement, he made it through that first practice to find out that at the end of each practice, they have snacks and he could have Cheetos! Throughout the season, Brahm worked really hard and improved his skills tremendously. And, he had a ton of fun doing it! He actually looked forward to going to practices! At the last practice of the season, they held a scrimmage game and handed out trophies. Brahm LOVED that trophy, and it’s still on display right next to his bed!
We certainly wish so many things were easier for Brahm. But, we’re so proud of how hard he works, thrilled with the successes he’s had, and ecstatic that he’s found something that brings him so much joy and pride in himself!