Sports for Special Needs Children

Sports for Special Needs Children

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Sports for Special Needs Children

The Wide World of Sports for Special Needs Children

There are so many options for activities for typical children. Almost too many to choose from. Are you the parent of a special needs child? Don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of activities for your kiddos, too, including sports for special needs children.

I’m grateful for sports that Brielle can participate in, but…. I have little interest in sports.


Why I’m Not a Fan of Sports

There are a lot of reasons why I’m not a fan of traditional sports (at all levels — kids’ sports all the way up to professionals). But, here’s my top five:

  1. The use of the collective pronoun by fans. “We won the game!” Huh??? Last time I checked, most fans were sitting in a recliner in their living room with a drink in one hand and the remote in the other with a bag of chips balanced on their laps.
  2. They are loud. Most sports by their very nature are loud. The grunting, bouncing, banging, clashing, and slamming. Basketball players’ squeaky shoes are the worst, in my opinion. The fans are also really loud, even in quieter sports. Who really needs to yell, “Get in the hole!” at a golf match? And then there’s the announcers. “Scooooooorrrreeee!” Ugh. Just call down people. Hush!
  3. They take too long. Games are really long, in my opinion. It’s an investment of hours or even the better part of an afternoon or day. I simply get antsie (and bored).
  4. The idolization of players. Yes, it’s a great achievement to be good at a sport. And yes, some players do great things outside their sport. But, cheating, drug use, and personal scandal rock the sports world nearly daily. They are people, too, with all of the same weakness and faults as the rest of us.
  5. The inflated salaries of players. Players developed their skills over most of their lives, train year-round, risk injury (sometimes grave injury), bring lots of money to their sports team and community, and still only have a temp job that may only last an average of  five years. And yet Kobe Bryant (NBA player for The Lakers) earned $28 million in salary and $34 million in endorsements.  Do I have to even mention that teachers and emergency personnel workers earn around $40,000 per year (at best) by comparison?


Sports Has Added A Lot to Our Family

As much as sports annoy me, it has been an integral part of our family life. 

My husband loves sports. He listens to sports radio, reads a few sports magazines, looks a vast variety of sport websites, follows many sports players on social media, and watches games whenever he can. Sports adds a lot to his life. I appreciate his interests because I value him and know if he’s happy, we’re a better couple. That all still applies, even if it agitates me when his interest in sports disrupts our time together.

Our family has enjoyed time together watching sports. We’ve spent our fair share of family time at baseball, basketball, and football games. We’ve been known to watch sporting events on television. Brian and Ashley have bonded over sports, especially over professional football. Yes, even I have gotten into the moment and cheered for our family’s favorite teams.

Feel good sports movies are some our family’s favorites. Everyone loves when the underdog wins, the guy who is behind the scenes makes it happen for the whole team, the golfer who has seemingly washed out gets the girl, or the simple farmer hears voices and builds a baseball field in his cornfield. I’ll admit it, I’ve cheered, laughed, and cried over sports movies. But, I’ve often had to lean over and ask Brian what things mean. Things like a touchback,  picket fence, flop shot, and submarine pitcher. Don’t quiz me on those. I may still fail.

Brian has played a lot of sports. He played high school basketball and baseball and was pretty good. He played on a softball team for several years when we were first dating and played basketball for several years early in our marriage. He’s played golf since he was a kid and still plays several times a month (and usually scores in the low 80’s or high 70’s). He goes to the gym three times a week and has done sprint triathlons since 2009. He’s an active dude and the payoff is a healthy body which I appreciate for many reasons. :)

Ashley has participated in sports. When she was really little, Ashley played lots of different sports trying to find the one that fit her best. She loved gymnastics, was pretty good at it, and stayed with it through early high school However, she was too tall (she’s now 5′ 10″) to be truly competitive. She played volleyball in junior high, too. But, then her knees gave out and she had to have major knee surgery when she was 13 years old. She did dance at a private center for a while later in high school and has stayed active. As coordinated as she is, she’s clumsy, too. She can claim two broken toes, repeated sprained wrists, stitches on her chin and top of head, dislocated knees (twice), and numerous bumps and bruises.

Brielle has been able to participate in sports. We are thankful for Special Olympics bowling, Miracle League baseball, and TOPSoccer. It gives her something fun to do, a sense of pride, a collection of new friends in her teammates, and passive physical therapy that adds to her physical well-being.

(Yep. I’m the only one not into sports in our family.)

Sports for Special Needs Children Collage

Why Sports for Special Needs Children Are Special

Sports for special needs children are different. They are simply just… better.

  • They welcome children of any ability.
  • They are often at little or not cost to the families.
  • They require only a reasonable amount of time.
  • They are a positive experience for the children, the families, and the volunteers.
  • They encourage true teamwork and camaraderie.
  • They bring out the best in everyone.

If you don’t believe me, just go to any event and you’ll see


Although I have absolutely no interest in sports,* they’ve made a difference for our family and especially for our special needs child. So, I try to enjoy them…. although mostly I just tolerate them.


* This is an edition of Finish the Sentence Friday (#FTSF). The sentence prompt for this week was: “I have absolutely no interest in…”


* If you’re visiting from one of these awesome LinkUps, let me know and I’ll be sure to share some comment love as well!


How have sports impacted YOUR family or YOUR special needs child?


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10 thoughts on “Sports for Special Needs Children”

  1. Kerith, I admit I wrote a post this week poking fun (mostly at me) at the fact that I have never had any interest in sports, while my husband and girls love it, especially soccer. I do love how you broke down here why you do love certain things associated with sports and although neither of my girls are special needs can truly appreciate why you do love sports and how they eloped Brielle. thank you for sharing with us again this week and nice to know it isn’t just me though that deep down had no use for sports in the past.

  2. Hi: our family also is involved in Special Needs sports, especially Special Olympics swimming. It was wonderful to see how happy my son was after swimming in his first races and got a medal afterwards. Lots and lots of smiles! Great to see that your daughter also is enjoying Special Needs sports!

    1. There’s just something empowering and uplifting about special needs sports, isn’t there? Hope he continued to love swimming as he gets older!

  3. I just looked into Challenger T-ball for Tucker and was really bummed that they don’t have a summer session. I think we’re going to sign up for the spring or fall one though. And I agree – games are much too long, and I think it’s sad how much professional athletes make. They get paid millions to play a game – something I’ve never been a supporter of.

    1. Definitely check out Challenger Baseball for Tuck Man. He’d LOVE it and I think you’d really be encouraged seeing him participate!

  4. Love the break down. I agree that the salaries are crazy for athletes, there are many more noble positions that deserve better pay. But, the sports stadiums and teams provide employment for so many, not to mention those who are employed by the sponsors. So…I guess I have decided to tolerate that part, mostly.

    I love that sports teach teamwork, and create friendships with others that participate. Usually I believe that these kids are the ones that I am happy my daughter hangs out with. (Look at me stereo-typing!) If they are involved in sports usually the parents are too, it is easier to let my daughter hang out if I have enjoyed a spectator-ship friendship with the parents. She is a teen and it is comforting to me to see them still active in sports, instead of trying to grow up too quick.

    I was a volunteer for Special Olympics, it was great to see the joy, friendship and fun. Everyone had a great time. And I don’t believe I ever heard an overbearing parent yelling from the sidelines…that was refreshing!

    1. You’re right about sporting events providing employment for so many. But, ugh… the rest of it. Well, I just endure and appreciate what it’s brought to our family. Thank you for being a Special Olympics volunteer!!

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