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Suggestions for P.E./Health (Middle school level)?


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I need ideas.


Background info:

My son will be 12 this spring. He has Asperger's syndrome. He also has low muscle tone, and his coordination is not fabulous. He's a video game fiend. So is his dad. Nobody at our house is, or has ever been, into sports, either playing or watching. Like most "Aspies", it's practically impossible to get my son to do something he doesn't at least kinda want to do. He can sometimes be motivated by making video game time contingent upon completion of required tasks, however, this has to be used judiciously because if it seems "too hard" to earn, he just shuts down.


It's likely we may be attempting to get public school credit for his work at home in an attempt to have him earn an actual diploma, both for jr. high and high school. That would require coming up with something that would count as P.E. and something else that would count as Health. The school will probably be willing to work with us as far as accepting an "adapted" course (they've tried to get him to do P.E. too...lol). But I will need to come up with SOMETHING. :glare:


Participation in team sports is not an option for ever so very many AS related reasons.


I have tried to help him find an individual type sport, like martial arts etc., without success, and we're now at the point where he is strongly resistant to the suggestion.


He dislikes being outdoors. I think it's a sensory issue, with the bright light, breezes, and just plain endlessly "open" feeling.


We do have a WII with a WII fit, and he enjoys some of the activities that come with it. He might be willing to do the dance mat thing if we got it. Can this work as a P.E., do you think? How would you do it? Just require a certain number of minutes per day or something?


The chances of him doing X number of pushups or situps, or whatever just because Mom thinks its a good plan are pretty iffy. I have to choose my battles, and I'm having a hard time making exercise a battle I want to fight along with the others at hand. I know it's important, but really I only have so much fight in me. He might be willing to exercise along with a kid-friendly (but not childish) videotape, though that would probably have a short "shelf life" with him.


I have wondered about having him study up on the rules of common team and individual sports without actually playing them. But even I am somewhat skeptical as to the value of that as "Physical Education".


I could really use any other ideas that might come to mind, both for P.E. and for "health".





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My husband is an adult Aspberger's, much socialized by this point, but...


When he was your son's age, he was in an alternative school and they did a PE class that included bowling as a unit. He really took to that, for some reason. Still enjoys it somewhat. What about that? Some of our homeschooling groups gave a bowling hour once a week. That might be noncompetitive and low-key enough, particularly in the day before things get oversensory-like.


My husband has never been an outdoorsy person either -- same kind of issues -- and has been overweight for many years. He got diabetes a couple of years ago. I had lost a lot of weight and started exercisingly regularly, so I was able to come alongside and help him do some things at the local Y. I wonder if your son could be persuaded to go to a community center or Y with you -- particularly in the middle of the day when things are quiet -- mostly older adults working out then. Our Y has the TV monitors on all the equipment, so my boys will bike or walk in front of them agreeably enough. He might also enjoy weightlifiting, if you could pay for a couple of personal trainer sessions to get him started. That would be an issue of finding the right staff person to work with him -- you could study the staff for a while, see who your son might take to.


The other thing my husband will do is bike. He does enjoy that. If you live that is conducive to that.


I sympathize with you completely. My sons do not have Aspberger's, but being raised by a non-sport/activity father has not been helpful to their complete health.


Good luck!



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Good thoughts, thanks. Yeah, my husband is not AS but he's also not very active himself and is overweight. I sometimes think it would be easier if the two of them...I dunno...threw a ball around and went fishing occasionally or something. But you just have to work with what you've got, y'know? And to be perfectly honest, fitness hasn't been a strength of mine for some time. I spent three months on bed rest with my first pregnancy (with this ds) and my muscles all went to pot. Then I had this hyper-sensitive baby with non-standard behavior and development that took up all my time and energy for the next...what...almost 12 years now, and has made it really hard to get back into a good exercise routine. His sister came along just when he started kindergarten in ps (homeschool was not on our radar at the time), and between having a new baby and needing to run down to the school all the time to straighten things out with ds, it still didn't happen. I suppose the ideal thing would be to find something for both of us to do together. There's not a YMCA to go to without eating up our whole day. There is a Gold's Gym, but memberships are expensive. Besides which, I'm not really comfortable with "public" exercise. We do live near a couple of nice parks...which entails being outdoors and which are not great for winter activity. There is a bowling alley fairly close, but I haven't been. Something to look into, especially if it's open during the day and there aren't a lot of people making loud noises with balls and pins.


He does have a bit of an adventuresome streak in him (poor soul, I see him all the time battling between the lure of adventure and the fear of unknown sensory obstacles) and I know he enjoys camping now and then (don't know why this is different from playing in the yard or the park, but it is). I've wondered about figuring out how many hours of activity would be in a typical semester long PE class and then taking however many camping trips would, with some prep time, add up to that many hours.


It sure would be nice just to sign up for soccer or something.

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My son has low muscle tone and motor planning issues and I don't really see him exceling in team sports. A couple of years ago, I started taking him to our local rec center and he took private swim lessons. He loves the water and he loved the one-on-one attention from the instructor. Now he is swimming 2X a week on what they call a developmental swim team, which is basically an intro to swim team for weaker swimmers. He will probably stay on the developmental swim team until he's sick of it. They have it for kids ages 6 - 16. Maybe something like that would be an option for your son?


I think the bowling is a great idea as well.





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Swimming laps?

Head is in water, so you don't hear sounds. If you have a YMCA or gym with a lap pool it's an indoor activity. It's either a "solo" activity, or "solo with a friend" (I do it with our boys, so we share a lap lane). And it helps regular, rhythmic deep breathing. Our next door neighbor's Aspie son learned some coordination by doing it, and he was able to actually fall asleep at night and sleep deeper by doing so.



Dance Dance Revolution

I still make our boys do outdoor things, too, but I allow 30-45 straight minutes using this with the dance mat pads as a portion of their PE hours. Or what about an occasional workout video at home on bad weather days -- like Tai-Bo?



- How about a 4-H activity?

- Martial arts class?

- Fencing? -- expensive, but it really teaches muscle strength and control, is somewhat solo, and is not loud.

- Orienteering? (combo of hiking, using maps and compasses, with goal of reaching certain check points within certain time frames)

- Does he like animals? How about horseback riding, or taking dogs for long brisk walks around the neighborhood -- he could even earn money doing that for neighbors!


Check out the President's Fitness Challenge (http://www.presidentschallenge.org/), or the Congressional Award (http://www.congressionalaward.org/) to give a goal to work towards! BEST of luck in finding what works for your family! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Since you mentioned the Wii...


We just got the Wii and I count Dance Dance Revolution as PE for my kids. Well, it's mostly for my daughter because she's not involved with sports. She sets the workout mode for 30 minutes. It only counts the actual time spent dancing. At the end of the workout, it tells her how many calories she's burned based on weight and number of steps or hand movements (if the hand part is turned on).


My son likes to do his 30 minutes of "PE" (he actually asks me if he can do "PE") a day even though he doesn't need it after his 10+ hours a week of taekwondo. Our virtual academy (public school funded) accepts it for PE.


I'm using it for 60 minutes a day for exercise as well. It really is an aerobic workout unless you are doing beginner and really should be doing a higher level.

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