Tip #3: Provide Opportunities For Your Child To Play Sports
Sports may not be the first word that pops into your head when thinking of extra-curricular activities for a child with vision loss. While some traditional childhood sports like baseball and soccer may not be options for children with low vision, that does not mean they want to sit on the sidelines.
From an early age, I learned that many sports were not fun for me. I would imagine myself hitting a homerun in softball, or catching the flying ball in kick ball, but it never played out that way in reality. Sports represented scary flying balls seemingly coming out of nowhere and hitting me in the face, or tiny elusive hockey pucks skating out of my limited field of vision.
I now know that sports can be so much more than scary flying balls.
In fact, I recently learned that there is even a ball-sport for blind people. It’s called Goalball,,and it was created for World War II veterans who had lost vision, but still longed to play sports like soccer. There are 3 players on each team, and they use a ball about the size of a basketball. Players use their hearing to track the ball, which has bells inside it. There are goalball teams for all ages, and it’s a great way to create fun family memories while being active.
If you’re able to find a goalball team in your area, try signing the whole family up! Your child will likely enjoy the opportunity to compete with others on an even playing field because all players wear blindfolds during the game.
Rather than having athletic events be an area where your child feels inept and excluded, try encouraging athletic opportunities that build confidence and promote lifelong skills such as teamwork and sportsmanship.
Depending on your child’s level of competitiveness, the sport they choose could take them all the way to the Paralympics!
The Blind/Visually Impaired paralympic sports include cycling, equestrian, goalball, judo, paratriathlon, rowing, sailing, swimming, track & field, alpine skiing, biathlon, and cross country skiing.
Whether the sport your child tries becomes a casual hobby, or a passionate goal leading to international competition, participation in sports will build character and promote healthy life skills.