Several months ago Cuyler announced that he was going to play soccer this summer. I told him that would be fun, thinking he would move off of that idea after a few days. He’s not a sporty kid. Nor is he much of a team player – he’s more of a solitary guy. In fact, he’s never played a sport – team or otherwise. The closer we got to warmer weather the more he talked about soccer.
“Mom. I promise I won’t touch the ball with my hands. Only my feet. Can I play soccer. Please?”
Sean, being a huge Liverpool supporter, was thrilled.
Soccer registration day came and went. I realized I needed to act because he was determined to play soccer this summer. I made a phone call to the admin explaining the situation: my son with autism has never played soccer and would like to play this year.
That’s all I needed to hear. I registered all 3 kids for outdoor soccer and patiently waited for an email from the experienced coach who would be comfortable coaching my child on the spectrum.
The email came about 3 weeks ago and Cuyler’s coach had no clue about his autism until I asked him if he had any questions about his autism. He has no experience with kids on the spectrum. That was a little awkward for both of us. As he fumbled for words, I could tell he was doing his best not to offend me with questions – I told him to please just ask without filtering himself. Nothing he asks would offend me. No question is a dumb question when you are just trying to get information.
I offered to let the other parents know and he seemed completely relieved about that.
At our first practice I informed all of the parent that # 2 on our team was a very enthusiastic first time soccer player who happens to have autism. I asked them for their support in making this year successful for Cuyler and to please ask me if they have any questions about Cuyler or the disorder or if their children had any questions. I told them that I prefer to disclose his autism out of fairness to him, his coach, his teammates and the other parents. I told them that the more time they spend with Cuyler, the more characteristics of the autism they will see BUT that they will also see his many capabilities as the season progresses.
Opening day was this past Saturday. They each had their first game.
Cam played keeper.
Eva scored her first goal.
And Cuyler made a few really nice plays in between waving at everyone in the crowd. So we gotta work on his focus…