16 answers

What Sports Does Your Kid with ADHD Play?

My 5.5 yr old NEEDS more physical activity. I get him outside as much as possible, but with 2 younger brothers it isn't always possible for him to run around as much as he should. We need to get him into some sports, but he was kicked out of his soccer program (I think the coach/teacher was just a bit inexperienced with the age group, but who knows). He does individual swimming lessons because I know it is not safe for him to take group classes when he is still so impulsive. He has NOT been diagnosed yet, but I am fairly certain he has AD/HD and will be switching doctors soon to try to find one who takes my concerns seriously.

Anyways, got any recommendations (especially local programs; ie, Western burbs of Chicago?)

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So What Happened?™

ooh, glad to know karate is a good one. He's starting karate in June :)

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Yep, my 14 yr old's been doing karate since he was 6. He's got ADHD and is also on the Autism spectrum. Karate is fantastic. Any team sport with a coach and a bunch of other kids was a disaster.

2 moms found this helpful

Karate & gymnastics

When I worked with children with ADHD, both activities seemed the most enjoyable and exhausting: )

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Ha! Fun, fun, fun :)

- gymnastics
- swimming
- aikido
- snowboarding
- skateboard/razor (parks are great, they go in circles!!! So you just sit and they loop).
- break dance
- singing (yes, singing counts as a sport, major muscle use)
- acting

We did team sports when he was younger, at 5 they faded out. (When the ENTIRE soccer team is running the wrong way, or acting like the Marx Bros its one thing, when the rest of the team isnt, and your kid is, they get heartbroken or spiteful). His dad had him in baseball @ 7 & 8 ... It was an unmitigated disaster! He was soooooo unmanageable. Not necessarily on the field (sometimes!), but AFTER. Used up every bit of self control. It was HORRID.

There are other great ADHD sports, but here's why the above are grand

- Gymnastics: total body movement in both gross and fine motor. Switches areas too quickly for them to get bored with one. Learns ful body control/ LIMITS/ safety, teaches 'planning ahead' before launching oneself at/on something... Aka impulse control, taking turns, listening with ears and eyes and body, body awareness in space.

- Swimming: full on sensory experience. VERY calming. Might not look like it, but the 'mellow' that follows? Priceless. Also useful in the not drowning side of things.

- Aikido/martial arts: direction, respect, cause & effect, working with a partner towards a common goal, body awareness, awareness of others. (horseback riding is another great one for the same reasons). Emotional monitoring & regulation via breath, heartrate, and acting out 'emotionally charged' events while keeping cool / keeping their head ((All true IF AND ONLY IF in a good dojo. Some teach the opposite, no control, feeding anger, shame/humiliation circles, 'breaking students down', etc. :P

Skiing/Snowboarding (ditto surfing, but surfing has the sensory thing with water added) : like skateboarding, but without the blood from landing on the cement. Controlling your body in motion (gravity), spatial awareness, cause and effect, limits.

- Dance : body awareness, timing, interacting and responding to an outside element (like ski/snowboard/surfing with gravity/surf, riding with the horse, martial arts with your partner... Dance interacts with music)

- Singing : is ALL about control

- Acting : combines mental and physical, helps with the 'what if?' aspect (ADHD kids tend to 'lie' a lot figuring out various 'what if?' scenarios... Acting let's them do that without being 'bad'. Physicality, cause and effect, working as a team, following direction. Stunts/stage fighting teach control and planning.

4 moms found this helpful

My son (6yo, ADHD-combined type) has done TaeKwonDo, swimming, baseball and soccer.

That being said... be careful of the temptation to assume that a hyper-active kid needs to participate in lots of active stuff.

Kids with ADHD move/talk/think/act constantly because they CAN'T stop, NOT because they ENJOY it. For my son, at least, too much outside stimuli make him feel way out of control. Sure, he appears to be the wildest kid out there (even on medication), but if you ask him about it, he says the OTHER kids are too wild. He feels better after an hour or two in the bookstore!

I'd recommend sticking with what's working instead of trying a lot of NEW things at this point also. Until you get a handle on his ADHD, soccer won't be the only thing he gets kicked out of. You don't want to set him up to feel rejected for something he can't control.

Team sports probably aren't your best bet at this point, because there are just too many variables, and too many other kids you can't control. I would stick with individual swimming, and try Karate (see if they'll do a few individual lessons while he learns the basics), and then try to get him to the playground or a big tree to climb.

4 moms found this helpful

Yep, my 14 yr old's been doing karate since he was 6. He's got ADHD and is also on the Autism spectrum. Karate is fantastic. Any team sport with a coach and a bunch of other kids was a disaster.

2 moms found this helpful

My son is what I would call borderline ADHD. He shows signs and symptoms at home but the school assessment fell just short to be able to diagnose him for certain. (This is per his psychiatrist.) He is ODD and we see a therapist for that. We tried baseball but same as your son - unable to focus on the field activity and the coaches. What he has enjoyed is running. I have had him do some 1k and 1 mile fun runs and he really likes those. If your son enjoys walking you might try some of the fun runs (usually in conjunction with the 5k races)

ETA: I know karate is usually a really good sport for ADHD kids. It really give them alot of discipline and structure. You might check into that also.

2 moms found this helpful

Karate & gymnastics

When I worked with children with ADHD, both activities seemed the most enjoyable and exhausting: )

2 moms found this helpful

Pretty much all sports were disastrous for my son. Gymnastics had too much hanging around waiting for turns. All team sports were just a whine/fit throw fest. He is only good at individual stuff like tennis or golf.

2 moms found this helpful

All park districts work with Special Recreation Associations so if you register for a class you can request an inclusion assistant. It's free to you (besides the cost of the class) and the assistant just serves as a personalized coach. Helping your child with the rules and staying focused while he plays things like Soccer or T-ball.

2 moms found this helpful

The one our son stuck with the longest was Parkour. Look this up ... it's custom-made, really, for boys with ADHD. It involves a lot of running, climbing walls, jumping and doing dangerous things. Our son's class was done in a kids gym with the guidance of instructors, so it's much safer than the outdoor variety. Parkour is pretty hot now, so you should be able to find a local gym offering a program. Our son did fine in a group setting because there was zero down time ... he was dripping with sweat by the time class ended. It was the only thing we found that tired him out.

2 moms found this helpful

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