Returning to the Diamond for an Autistic Teenager

Returning to the Diamond for an Autistic Teenager

The last time my son played baseball was in 2017.

What team does he play on?

It’s a special needs VIP Little League team. He’s played on this team for several years now.

When he last played, he was really enjoying it. He has always liked to hit, but his last full season (in 2017), he tried pitching. He practiced pitching and had some success.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t add onto his 2017 success in 2018.

Why not?

He broke his foot in January, 2018.

When it happened, we had just signed up for baseball about a week earlier.

Since the doctor said that he was going to have to wear a boot on his foot for six to eight weeks and then said no running for another four, we asked the league to refund our money. They graciously complied.

So, he didn’t play at all in 2018.

What happened?

We talked to our son about returning to baseball over the winter.

In past, he would say, “Sign me up.” This winter, he said, “I’ll think about it.”

Unfortunately, I think he lost his motivation and his momentum.

Being an entire year removed from baseball affects my child. On the drive to his first game, I reminded him of the pitching success he had two years ago and how much he said he liked hitting. He agreed that it would be fine.

How did it go?

The team is only practicing right now (I think games start in two weeks), but the first practice was really shaking off the rust for my son. After ten or so swings in batting practice, for example, he began to hit the ball better.

He practiced a few pitches and grounders, too.

The coach was new to us, but he seemed great. Very positive and energetic.

Were there any hiccups?

Two I had been worried about…

The motivation. Maybe when they have their games, he’ll seem for into it. But, during practice he seemed more interested in asking the adults about whether they’ve ever been to Europe than playing baseball (Discussing history, travel, or Europe, especially Poland, is his latest obsession. My son was very happy with the new coach, they bonded right away because the coach had lived in Germany in his youth!).

A problem my son has had for years now also came back…he doesn’t like being in the sun except if he’s in a pool or some kind of water.

This field has almost no shade, except in two spots along the fringes of the field. My kid wanted to warm up there, which was fine with the coach.

Then, during batting practice, my son either hit or sat on the bench talking with a mom about South America. I had to ask him twice to go in the field and shag balls for his teammates.

He did this by walking all the way to center field and standing along the fence… under the shade.

Part of me knew this would happen, but my husband and I agreed to try once more to get him out on the field. We’re both big baseball fans and our son likes to watch baseball.

However, I’ll have to monitor his motivation and this “in the sun” issue closely. Next winter, when we discuss playing again, we’ll have to really think hard on it.

Returning to the Diamond for an Autistic Teenager

Here is a great article about a person with autism playing Little League baseball:

Growing Up With Autism And The Impact Of Little League Baseball®


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