Choosing an activity
To integrate recreation and sports into treatment, the activities must be planned thoughtfully. Parents are familiar with "individual education plans," based on careful consideration about which sports or recreation programs are suitable.
Through short interviews with children and parents, a pediatrician usually may help the family select activities most likely to bring success. The pediatrician attempts to find out why certain athletic and recreational activities have failed in the past. How does the child spend free time? What activity does the child usually do when asked what he or she would like to do? What assets do the parents see in the child in the way of eye-hand coordination, running skills, speed, endurance, and strength? How mature is the child physically and emotionally? If the pediatrician knows about local opportunities for sports and recreation, he or she can greatly assist the parents in choosing an activity or activities to fit the child. For children with motor coordination problems or other special problems, the pediatrician might want to consult an adaptive PE instructor for advice about the best activity.
It is important for parents to talk to the coach or recreation leader about their child's skills and problems before a program begins, but parents worry that this will create a negative attitude in the coach or teacher. On the contrary, most coaches want and need to know about potential problems in advance. If not made aware of the problem, the coach probably will interpret some of the child's behaviors as deliberate and possibly directed at the coach, which will leave a particularly bad impression.