Rhythm and movement confidence. These are important “passive” athletic skills for any athlete.
For athletes with ASD challenges, they’re critical. Each skill serves as a building block for other and more complex movement and athletic skills.
Rhythm is an expression of time and works hand-in-hand with pattern recognition to improve the capability for, and even the speed of, the athlete’s cognitive processing. In these athletes, that gives us a broader foundation to layer skills into.
Developing movement confidence creates an internal environment for the athlete in which trying new activities carries lower perceived risk.
Simple rope jumping allows layering in, not only of activity-specific skills, but of confidence born out of passing milestones.
We started with 5 skips in a row as a target. No technique specified. When that succeeded, I asked Ryan to perform 5 with his hands close to his body and “more wrist flip.”
Succeeding in that, we moved to 10 reps twice, 10 and 5 reps twice (5 sec rest between,) then the Holy Grail for day 1 – 15 in a row.
While we didn’t quite get there, we focused on the successes of the day and moved on. Proudly.
Keep the faith and keep after it!