Last Fall my eight-year old non-verbal son with autism joined a local soccer league that supports children with challenges. Okay, I signed him up and made it happen but up to that point I never even thought he’d kick a ball. We'd tried through various therapies for years. That was my limiting belief holding him back and this experience showed me when given the opportunity and the natural motivation to play, anything is possible.
On the first day, the coaches evaluated his skills (which were basically the ability to move up and down the field) and assigned him to the team with the highest challenged teammates.
That didn’t deter him one bit.
Each Sunday we packed ourselves into the car for our afternoon adventure. We arrived open to the possibility of what may come. The coaches and volunteers believed Ian would one day kick the ball. They were so positive, supportive and encouraging and his father and I started to believe it too.
Ian would watch as the other kids moved up and down the field kicking the ball, often standing right in the mix of the action. This created the desire in him to try, that internal natural motivation. We weren't asking him to kick a ball just to see if he could do it, it was part of a game and play with other children.He could see the purpose of why kicking the ball was important. I believe this was the key.
On the fifth week, it happened. He started intentionally kicking the ball and he kicked it all the way to the goal! Not just once, but several times. I whipped out my Flipcam and took the following video. You’ll see Ian guided by his father with the volunteer close by.
He may never be a top-level soccer player and I’m perfectly fine with that. I will however continue to embrace all possibilities and not hold him back with my limiting beliefs because what if, just what if I’m wrong?
As a Mind-Body and Equus Coach, Diane Hunter helps parents reconnect with their inner guidance system to find a sense of peace and a deeper connection with themselves and their child. She writes on her blog www.afterautism.com and www.thehealthylifecoach.com to share her stories with others and share how to listen beyond words, open up to the power of non-verbal communication and find freedom from their physical and emotional pain. On most days you’ll find her hanging with her two greatest teachers, her children, and her husband in their home in Los Gatos, CA.