Many parents feel disconnected from their Asperger’s/Autism spectrum child. What do Dad’s often see as the ultimate shared male pasttime? Why, sports of course.
And that’s where Sluis Academy founder and teacher Bill Sluis enters the scene. Sluis has developed and refined a proven method of teaching socialization through physical activity. A method that should help fathers bond with their sons and daughters as they teach them both social and physical skills related to games and team sports.
Sluis has had success using everything from a simple ball toss, to teaching autistic and special needs children baseball, golf and even shotput.
This high school teacher’s approach has been refined over a period of 35 years, and he has seen some amazing results. My daughter and I attended a presentation by Sluis tonight. As you may know, both my daughter and I, and her son have Asperger’s, and my daughter is also an Special Education Assistant in a high school. We were astounded at his knowledge of the issues.
In every case, Sluis understood the anxiety associated with sports. “Developing the skill level wasn’t sufficient,” he explained tonight. “Initiating into the game was another problem. Getting into the game and maintaining that.”
Speaking as an Aspie, it is wonderful to hear someone speak not only to the need to develop a child’s physical skills but also to assist him in negotiating the social anxiety associated with trying to integrate oneself into a team sport.
Initiating into the game is a process few Phys Ed teachers even consider putting on their curriculum. And yet, for children on the Autism spectrum, figuring out how to get invited into the game, and stay welcome throughout, is a huge source of anxiety.
Even if we have the physical skill set, how do we get what Bill Sluis calls “initiated” into the game, and how do we get people to want us to stay? We may have a great physical skills level but we need to show that in interaction with others. And that requires another skill set–also completely foreign to us.
This is where the Sluis method is perfect. It addresses both these anxiety sets, something few other methods do.
You will hear more about Bill Sluis and the Sluis Academy in future blogs.
The Sluis Academy is new, and it’s website is still under construction. But you can go to http://www.sluisacademy.com/ and see what help will soon be available.
Bill Sluis is available for presentations to teachers, parents and other groups who may be interested in his work.