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To worry about DS (age 5, Asperger's and possible dyspraxia ) on sports day?

(40 Posts)
sh77 Tue 24-May-16 20:53:57

I wish I could keep him home. He's been telling me he's been coming last in the practice races at school. I signed him up for a local athletics class to help but the other kids kept pointing out he was last, which was heartbreaking. I also saw for the first time that he struggled to coordinate himself. Paed thinks he may be dyspraxic. I don't know how he will cope on sports day.

WalkingBlind Tue 24-May-16 21:05:24

I don't know anything about dyspraxia but I do have Aspergers and sports days were really bad for me. The whole "team building" thing didn't help it was just too much pressure. Although I'm not a professional at all so maybe we are meant to be put through it to help? confused All I can say is I personally never wanted to go. Has he said he doesn't want to?

I really struggled with for example, during a baton race and they explain what you do.... I would meltdown as I couldn't understand when to pass the baton or who to or how long to run for. And I can't run fast anyway. The people cheering or shouting "hurry up" would also cause sensory overload and huge amounts of stress (imagine a car beeping at you when you're doing the speed limit feeling)

sh77 Tue 24-May-16 21:10:21

Thank you walking for your insight. He hasn't said he doesn't want to participate as he has no idea what sports day will be like. It's his first. I don't want to give him the impression it's fine to cop out but I think it will be a tough day. Maybe we go and see what it's like.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 24-May-16 21:15:49

I think give it a try, I worried about this with DS (AS and dyspraxia) and his first couple of Sports Days weren't great, but by about year 2 he loved them and it was the highlight of his school year, he was devastated to have to miss it in year 4 with a broken wrist. It is heartbreaking when they struggle and even worse when others point it out. Could you have a chat with his teacher to make them aware of your worries?

Notonthestairs Tue 24-May-16 21:19:02

My DD (6) has autism and hyper mobility. She can't coordinate her movements all that well and is last in every race. But she loves sports day and doesn't care smile (breaks my heart a bit but that's a problem for me Not her).
Speak to the teacher - make sure he's encouraged and that's it's not all about the winning. If it's a decent school then reception/year 1 children should just be having fun. And it's probably not all races, it's balancing bean bags on heads etc.

Drmum123 Tue 24-May-16 21:21:28


My eldest son has autism and he is also very very clumsy. He is under ot for this, although we have not gone for a formal diagnosis of dyspraxia. I really worried about sports day.

However, his experiences have actually been really positive. He has his ta with him one on one for sports day (doesn't usually need this). The way his schooldoes it is they do loads of activities at the beginning (like throwing bean bags into a hoop, or an obstacle course). Someone is standing at the side and keeping a vague point score, but this is for the houses and no one really notices. After this section they do races, but all children can chose to do them or not. We gave our son loads of praise and so did ta and teacher and he really really enjoyed it.

Have a chat to the school and see what it entails, and make sure he doesn't have to do anything he feels uncomfortable with. Also, the teacher should really cracking down on any kids who undermine him. However, I am not sure complete avoidance of things is always best. Having said that, you know your child best and if you really think it will distress him, missing sports day never killed anyone!

Notonthestairs Tue 24-May-16 21:21:29

But I do understand- it's the balancing act between being protective for their own good and holding them back. I don't always get it right.

Princesspeach1980 Tue 24-May-16 21:23:32

My DS is year 2 and has suspected asd, he has always struggled with sports day. He is fine in normal PE, but the extra pressure of the parents watching, and the noise etc was just too much for him. It sounds good that his school are practicing, at least it won't be completely unfamiliar.

I always had an agreement with his teachers that if it was getting too much, they would bring him to me and he would sit on my knee and just watch. Maybe you could mention to the teacher that he could do that if it's getting too much, and to do it when he starts getting uncomfortable, rather than waiting until he gets to meltdown.

feellikeanalien Tue 24-May-16 21:34:10

Not sure if this helps but my DD has a genetic condition affecting her development and she is always last in all races and struggles with things like skipping and balancing.

Last year she was in reception and on sports day was at least half a lap behind in all races.

I was almost in tears watching her but all the other spectators were cheering her on and when she got to the finish line the teachers held the tape across for her.

She proudly told me that she had gone through the tape and won!

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 24-May-16 21:42:25

one of my daughters walked her races last year - she said she knew she would come last anyway and it was easier to do it deliberately.

eversoslightlytired Tue 24-May-16 22:00:45

Hi my son is 8 (Y4) and was given a diagnosis of dyspraxia last year - we are waiting for testing for autism. He always moans about sports day and complains he doesn't want to do it cos he never wins but he actually always looks like he's having a lovely time on the day.

Foofoobum Tue 24-May-16 22:14:40

I was a sporty autistic. I loved participating because it was a great equaliser. I was shite but I didn't care because I got happy endorphins afterwards and I felt part of something. In my teenage years PE was the only time I didn't feel left out. Can you get the school to stress the importance of having fun and taking part over winning? DDs school have team sports days so no one person is left out. Could you suggest that to them?

TeenAndTween Tue 24-May-16 22:15:23

I suggest you ask his teacher what the format will be and go from there.

Our year R do a 2 team massive relay race, so it is impossible to tell who is running fast and who isn't.

Generally at our school in the 'practices' the teachers are working out who is fast and who isn't and lo and behold on sports day the heats are the good people against each other and the slower ones against each other.

My 2 DDs who both have DCD both enjoy/enjoyed sports day at primary because everyone got cheered and had fun. The winning was less important. At another school it would be different. (They don't have aspergers though.)

Dixiechickonhols Tue 24-May-16 22:41:30

I'd speak to school. The little ones at dd's school do more obstacle type things rather than just races. So run to hoop put on vest, next hoop put hat on and run to line.

Titsywoo Tue 24-May-16 22:47:51

My 9 year old DS also has dyspraxia and ASD. He actually came second from last in last years race so you never know! Anyway he doesn't say he doesn't want to do it and so I just leave him to it. He seems to enjoy the whole experience of cheering everyone on etc.

Creasedupcrinkle Wed 25-May-16 00:16:22

Keep him off. Life is complicated enough with additional needs, so if you would rather he didn't have the same experience he has had in the practices, then a little "virus" is the way forward. He's 5. Balls to overprotection!grin

VioletBam Wed 25-May-16 00:22:17

Keep him off. I wish I'd kept my uncoordinated and slow DD off more sports days. She did every single one in primary and always came last aside from one race which she always came 3rd or 2nd in. She HATED it.

I get so mad about Sports Days. WHY? We don't have a bloody music day or an art day or an English Literature day!

It's humiliating for some kids. Imagine if the kids who were shit at spelling had to do it in front of the parents and their peers on a special day of awards and cheering? Imagine that!

VioletBam Wed 25-May-16 00:23:24

Teen my DDs school did that. Didn't stop the slow kids from feeling like shit.

They KNOW they're the slow kids.

Fanjango Wed 25-May-16 00:26:48

My son has dyspraxic traits and sensory issues. He hates sports day. His school have been very understanding. Perhaps a chance never stationing the teacher and SENCO would be a good idea. They may be able to organise him into something he can take part in easier

FreezerBird Wed 25-May-16 00:27:12

If it's his first Sports Day, is it your first too? If so it might be worth chatting to the school to see how they handle it.

The attitude of the school is what will determine how your ds gets on I think. If they're dismissive of your concerns, there's your answer.

But it doesn't have to be awful. My dd is in y3, has various health problems and is tiny for her age. Last year in y2, for the first time she had to do a longer race - not just along the straight but a whole lap of the field. This means that for half the race the kids are away from where the parents are sitting, so they place y6 children at strategic points along the way to encourage the little ones. DD was last, by a long way, and as she went she 'collected' the y6's and they all crossed the line together, holding hands, to huge cheers and applause from staff, children and parents.

It was beautiful. The HT was passing me tissues.

Fanjango Wed 25-May-16 00:27:45

A conversation with the teacher and idea where spellcheck went there...

VioletBam Wed 25-May-16 01:17:31

Freezer I'm glad your dd had a nice time with that race. I'd like to point out though, that for some children, the whole chanting and cheering you on as you stumble in last is just humiliating.

My DD said "I don't care that I'm last...I just hate them all looking at me and pretending to cheer me on at the end. It's awful"

That was how she felt.

hazeyjane Wed 25-May-16 02:02:47

How are the school with it all?

Ds had his sports day today, he runs with a 1-1, but there are quite a few children with SN who do the same. He usually comes last but he loves it and school organises it really well, if he was upset about it I don't know what I would do

Lots of other children will come last as well though, and if it like our sports day today there will be a few tears from overwhelmed year Rs and children who lose their shoe while running and egg and spoon runners who throw the egg over the finish line - it is chaos but fun!

Auti Wed 25-May-16 05:50:08

I have Aspergers.
I can still remember the humiliation of school sports and I'm now 47!
I would talk to the SENCO and ask them to exempt him from all competitive/team sports.
I am not saying do not do sports with him, just give competitive/team sports a miss, they are stressful for many Aspies.
Individual non-competitive sports are much better eg jogging, cycling, martial arts, climbing etc.
Hope you work something out x

sh77 Wed 25-May-16 09:37:13

I'm so touched by the responses and the posts had me in tears. It's very interesting to see the positive experiences also. It is my first sports day and the worry is probably more mine. I'll need to think about how to approach school. I'm already the PITA parent! We will go with it this year but I'm dreading it.

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