Football crazy

Photo credit Free images

My eldest son O loves football. He loves watching it, reading about it, collecting football stickers, table football, talking about it and to an extent playing it.

I used the term 'playing football' very loosely. He isn't massively gifted in the football skills department - he's been in the D team each time his school have played against other local schools - but that doesn't mean to say he isn't very good, there are just lots of boys who have been playing for a lot longer and have a huge amount of confidence when it comes to team sports.

O's confidence has come on leaps and bounds in the last year, as have his communication and social skills in general. When it comes to the football field, or any type of sports field, he really lacks confidence. He is far too polite and just gives the ball away or goes for it then changes his mind.

I moan about standing in the pouring rain for an hour to watch O play football with a tired threenager in tow, but I'm secretly over the moon. Ecstatic that my amazing son who is relatively newly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, is running around with his friends, yelling words of encouragement to his team mates and high fiving everyone - even the games teacher - when a goal is scored.

Ok so you can't be expected to take under 8's football matches hugely seriously but to the children it is a big deal. Well only for the rest of the day then they revert back to discussing their favourite premier league teams. A lot of O's peers play or train with various teams at the weekend, hence a great deal more experience, but I've found them not to be hugely inclusive.

Last year at my Care for the Family course I heard about the local church youth football team and put O's name on the waiting list. This week I got an email to say he was at the top of the list and would he like to join the squad in September! I was so excited!

O's pleasure at this opportunity was immeasurable he immediately said yes please and then started debating the direction his professional football career would go in. I had given the coach a heads up on O's needs and after speaking to him on the telephone about O's suitability he said they will welcome O with open arms and can't wait to see him at training later on this year.

Photo credit Free images
So that's it, O now has a regular weekend activity which will create some routine to our weekend. I'm sure after he tries it he will want to continue. The coach sounded so encouraging and understanding that I'm hopeful O will slot into the squad. Just got to hope he gives it his all and not wonder off examining worms or collecting sticks like he did at a recent tag school match.

Come the autumn I will be a weekend football mum and I cannot wait!! Oh and it means we get to go shopping for football related items and perhaps a new coat for me, well I need to be warm on the sidelines don't I...

If you would like any more information on Autism Spectum Disorder contact the National Autistic Society here they can provide help, support and information to children, adults and carers.

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