Best Sports for Kids with Autism: A Guide for Parents

Sii Nurul
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Best Sports for Kids with Autism: A Guide for Parents
Image : Autism Parenting Magazine | Issue 152

What sports are kids with autism good at?

Many children on the autism spectrum prefer spending time alone, making team sports challenging. However, there are sports that allow for individual competition while still being part of a team.  According to, some of the best sports for children with autism include:
  • Swimming
  • Track and Field
  • Bowling
These sports offer opportunities for individual success and team involvement. Let’s dive into each one:

1. Swimming

Swimming is great because it involves water play and basic strokes. Many kids on the spectrum thrive in water. The sensory experience can be very calming and enjoyable for them.

2. Track and Field

Track and field events usually require minimal interaction with others, which can be a plus. While some events like relays need teamwork, the focus is often on individual performance, which suits many kids with autism.

3. Bowling

Bowling can be noisy, which might deter some kids, but the repetitive nature of the sport can be soothing. Many children on the spectrum find the repetitive actions comforting and can do very well in this sport.

Sports That Might Be Challenging

While every child is different, some sports can be more difficult for children with autism. Team sports like football, baseball, basketball, and soccer often present challenges due to three main factors:

1. Coordination

Children with autism often struggle with coordination, motor skills, and muscle tone. Sports that require handling a ball or puck can be particularly tough for them. They might benefit from physical or occupational therapy to help improve these skills.

2. Environment

The environment can greatly impact children with autism. Sensory issues can make certain settings challenging. For instance, the cold of a hockey rink or the loud squeaks of basketball shoes can be overwhelming, making these sports less enjoyable.

3. Social Skills

Team sports require strong social and communication skills. Children with autism may struggle in this area, making it hard to participate in team activities. Effective communication is essential in team sports, and this might not be easy for some kids on the spectrum.


Choosing the right sport for your child can make a huge difference in their happiness and success. Individual sports that offer a team aspect, like swimming, track and field, and bowling, can be great options for children with autism. 

On the other hand, traditional team sports might be more challenging due to issues with coordination, environment, and social skills. Every child is unique, so it’s important to find what works best for your child.

If they are wanting to participate, it is up to us as parents to help guide them to a sport that will help them succeed. There are many sports teams that have individual aspects that could help your child thrive. Team sports may not be the answer for your child for a variety of reasons.

The important thing is to be there to support your child’s development. Let them try multiple sports, even if it’s one at which you don’t think they will succeed. If one sport doesn’t work, let them try
another until they find the one that fits them best.


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