School for many Asperger’s Disorder children represents an arena of failure and rejection that they cannot escape. Activities outside of school can provide an environment to preserve and enhance self esteem.
Self-esteem found in other arenas can make up for the despondency many Asperger’s Disorder children feel at school. Success at an activity other than school can provide feelings of accomplishment, pride, and motivation. Outside activities can also provide an opportunity for your child to have positive interactions with other children.
Any outside activity that your child enjoys can increase self esteem. It is the pleasure of the activity, not his ability, which generates self esteem. Sports have been repeatedly shown to enhance self esteem. Participants in athletic activities have better images of their own bodies, higher levels of self esteem, and more trust for others. Girls in particular learn to appreciate their bodies and the fact that strength and endurance are assets. Participation in sports teaches children not just how to win, but how to lose. Sports teach children how to work with others and set goals.
Since children with Asperger’s Disorder often have poor motor skills and poor social skills, team sports are probably not the best arena for them. Individual sports of golf, gymnastics, track, and horseback riding provide benefits of sports without the stress of intense social interaction.