Cheerleading and Asperger's.... How I found it helped my daughter.

Leslie - posted on 04/18/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I have an almost 8 year old daughter named Vada. I found she was having more trouble with friends and was getting into more trouble due to the fact she didn't have anything to occupy her time. She had mentioned cheerleading several time. Due to her anxiety I was reluctant to put her in it. about a year ago I enrolled her at a private cheer academy and at they Family Y cheerleading program. She bombed out on the Y program due to a lack of structure and they arn't professionals they are volunteers. However, the private cheer academy which does national competitions, They love her! She has friends, she can now do a back handspring... and they have learned as much as I have about my child. It has been a wonderful experience and I would recomend it to everyone. I never would have expected her to thrive so well in cheerleading. I always thought of cheerleader's as cut throat and judgemental. I have learned how wrong I was. They wanted to know more about asperger's and just last week her coach said to me " I don't think of it as a disability. She is perfectly able. She just needs a firm hand keeping her focused on what she needs to be doing." I would like responses on what other activities parents with Asperger's have had sucess with... I think it would help parents all around.

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Leslie - posted on 04/20/2010

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My daughter is in competitive cheerleading. It's easier for her because she doesn't have to remember cheers. Right she is working on her back handsprings. She is able to do cartwheels, roundoffs, and running roundoffs. However, her back handspring, she can do it but still needs a spotter. It's great exercise and she likes it because she doesn't have to stand in front of a crowd and say cheers. and unless she joins a squad she doesn't have to memorize routines. It takes awhile for them to learn the tumbles so I don't have to worry about putting her on a squad. She could join one if she wants but I found she is happy going 2 times a week to learn her back handsprings. and the coaches are so amazing with her. I could never imagine them taking her under their wings and making her feel so "normal". The other girls, They help keep her focused and doing what she needs to do at the same time they don't treat her like she is disabled. We expect the same of her as we would expect from any of the other girls. Her coach said to me " she isn't disabled... she is perfectly able" and I agree. She can do anything she puts her mind to doing. Consider putting your daughter in competitive cheer because if she ever wants to join a school cheer squad she is going to have to know how to do these tumbles. They are very competitive. Your son could join too... He would benefit in the small classes and from the exercises. And you wouldn't have to deal with him being around all the yelling from cheers. Vada goes to a Cheer Academy here that is separate from the school. If you would like to know more, feel free to write me back. I was hesitant to put her in cheer. I know now how wrong I was.

Sheila - posted on 04/19/2010

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I am glad to hear about this. My daughter (typical) is in cheer and her brother loves to help her with her routines. She works with him and helps him with stretching, learning her routines (minus the tumbles). My son has extreme auditory sensitivity, but if he didn't I would get him involved with the cheer team. Like you, I am so impressed with the coaching and their ability to focus in on each child's individual strength...They really work on building that team atmosphere...no "one" wins and no "one" loses...they all succeed as a team.



My son, although ASD, has had great success with the Playball program. It is absolutely wonderful...I know others who have children with Aspergers who have also loved this program...As well, a friend's son is a swimmer. He is on a team, and does relays as well as individuals. But, there is no hustle and bustle that he gets overwhelmed. He can accept a "loss" because he tracks his own personal times...he wants to come in first, but is always happy if he matches or beats personal bests.



Another friend's daughter loves being part of a downhill ski-team. Same type of reasoning...team sport without being overwhelmed by everything.



Sheila

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