Our eldest son has played rugby for the past 3 years and he dreams of playing for Wales and the British Lions.
Today our youngest son had his first taste of a rugby training session. He has watched his brother play many times, but if it’s cold or wet he does not like to be outside. In the past I have carried him, sat on a chair with him to shield him from the elements or stayed at home to save him the stress of being on the side of the pitch.
It looked as if this morning would be the perfect start to his rugby career with glorious sunshine, one of his friends from school coming to try rugby for the first time and the coach for today was a familiar face. How wrong could we be?! I now have a bad back from carrying him for most of the two hour session, as he didn’t want to stand on the grass, kept saying he was cold and once he realised he was going to have to shout ‘TAG’ when he took a tag from another player, he quickly told me ‘I’m not talking’ and he was distressed by the other parents watching from the sidelines. He hates attention being focussed on him and although there were only 13 or so kids for his age group and so not that many parents, he found it all a bit too daunting. Since we have come home he has not stopped bundling his brother and sister to the ground and shouting at the top of his voice!
Rugby could be an ideal sport for him as it will help with his core stability and teach him how to play as part of a team. A lot of people with ASD prefer to do things by themselves, so it would be wonderful if we could engage him at a young age in a team sport.
It’s unfortunate that his selective mutism as well as his ASD has held him back today from participating, but it is just a setback. We will persevere and continue to take him to the rugby training sessions each week, as he may become more comfortable as the other players and their families become familiar faces. If he decides after a few weeks of going that this isn’t the activity for him, we can try something else. The important thing is that he gives it a go and doesn’t give up at the first hurdle.