I signed Kyle up for basketball yesterday. I do my best to try and sign him up for a variety of things like sports, piano and gymnastics as well as other opportunities like Lego Club. These all help in a variety of ways. Some help with gross motor skills and some help with fine motor skills. Some help with coordination and balance. They all help with social skills and they are all fun activities.
The only "different" issue that I had last year with basketball was that he didn't like the whistle being blown and when everyone would dribble their balls at the same time it bothered him. It varied in severity from day to day, and on a sensitive day he would cover his ears more than the other days. He really didn't have any meltdowns about this specifically, just the need to cover his ears.
When I asked him about playing basketball this year the first thing that he had mentioned to me was that he didn't like the whistle being blown because it bothered his ears. Then we talked about how much fun he had playing basketball. He wanted to play, but the sensory overload from the sounds was driving him away. As a parent I do not want him to miss out on these great oppotunities that he won't have once he grows up. It is my job to find a way to make it work for him. If I let him retreat and stay within his "comfort zone" then it will just get harder as he gets older. I need to find a balance of keeping his comfort, finding ways to help minimize sensory stimuli and ways to help him grow and deal with some of them.
So, what do I do in this situation? I haven't figured that out yet. I asked if they knew who the coach was going to be for Kyle's team yet and they didn't know. On the sheet I had to fill out for Kyle to be on the team I wrote a comment on there about Kyle's Asperger's and that he was sensitive to the whistle and such when he played basketball last year. I am hoping that he has the same coach as last year as he is familiar with Kyle.
Now I am thinking through all of the different options to help Kyle cope with the sounds this year in basketball. I have really thought about ear muffs or ear plugs. I really don't think that this is a good idea as the other kids will most likely find this a good thing to make fun of. I also have the concern that he won't be able to hear what the coach is saying, which is also just as important. I could request that they don't use the whistle and just roll the balls around instead of bouncing them!! Obviously I am just kidding about that one. What is the answer? Is there a good answer? I haven't figured this one out and I welcome any thoughts and suggestions.