Tennis: Autism and Social Skills


I have been trying to teach Brandon social skills since he was a little boy, but nothing has ever worked. Matt, age 39, Brandon’s older brother, has physically and emotionally moved away from Brandon, age 36.  He doesn’t see him very often, because he just doesn’t get anything out of the relationship, and it’s just too much work.

Matt has a family of his own, and with the economy being the way it is, he has been putting in long hours at work.  It is very rare when Matt gets any extra time, and when he does he wants to be with his family, spend time with a friend, or rest. I understand him distancing himself from Brandon, because Matt doesn’t have much to give right now either. 

 

Brandon really misses not seeing his brother and could use some male companionship, being his dad died many years ago. 

As moms, we are always trying to make things work. I thought of what could help Brandon respond and return a call, an email, a text message, a response of some sort, anything.  Matt just wants and needs some kind of response coming from his brother Brandon.

I went to sleep asking for the answer to be revealed. The next morning, when I woke up, I had the answer, tennis. I am going to take Brandon to watch people play tennis.  You might be asking yourself now, “What is she talking about?” I was hoping when Brandon saw the game of tennis I could show him how having a relationship with his brother is similar to playing the game.

I picked up Brandon and took him to the tennis courts where my friend, John is the instructor.  I told John what I was doing there, and he was happy to help. He was teaching young students and showed them what happened when the ball wasn’t returned, and he shouted loudly so Brandon could hear, “People lose interest and want to stop playing. You just can’t stand there is do nothing you must try to return the ball.” 

Brandon watched the kids, and heard John’s comments. I then told Brandon, that is what happens to your brother when you don’t return a call, an email, or any kind of response, your brother loses interest and stays away. “Matt just needs to hear from you. Remember, when you get a message from Matt, that means the ball is on your side of the court.  It is your job to send a message back as soon as you can, anyway you can.” “I understand Mom,” Brandon said.

The next day, Brandon called to say he received a letter from Matt, and wanted to do something to get his brother to spend time with him. He wrote a short e-mail and then called Matt. Later that day, Matt called to tell me he received an e-mail and a phone call from Brandon!  Matt felt good that Brandon was trying.  He said that was all he needed, and he was going to call Brandon up and make plans to take him out for dinner.

Brandon called and was so happy that Matt had invited him to dinner.  Brandon knows and understands what needs to be done.  I just hope he can continue to implement an appropriate response in a timely manner.  

Hopefully, this will be a new beginning for Matt and Brandon’s relationship, as brotherly love runs deep.

Amalia Starr on Twitter
Amalia Starr
Mother to an independent autistic adult son, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Founder of the Autism Independence Foundation. Book Amalia to speak, call 800-939-1046 or attend one of her conferences or training.
Amalia Starr

Amalia Starr

Mother to an independent autistic adult son, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Founder of the Autism Independence Foundation. Book Amalia to speak, call 800-939-1046 or attend one of her conferences or training.

0 thoughts on “Tennis: Autism and Social Skills

  • August 29, 2010 at 12:21 am
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    @amaliastarr – Thanks. We watched a tennis game the other day on a sports channel. It was a previously aired game. I just had him watch this time. He actually enjoyed it. Next time, or a few times after, I’ll bring up the topic. 

    Reply
  • August 25, 2010 at 10:37 am
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    Completely inspired! AGAIN.

    Your Bboy is helping me find ways to work with my Bboy. That is such an awesome idea.

    Bboy has been losing “friends.’ They’re classmates. He recently tried inviting them over for playdates, like his older brother T has, but none will over. He couldn’t understand why so he asked one of the boys, “Why don’t you want to come to my house?” The boy answer, nicely, “Well, [Bboy], it’s because you don’t play WITH us, you play more AT us.” Which I’m sure you understand what the young man was trying to say.

    Perhaps tennis will work as a proper tool to illustrate it to my Bboy. Although, he may just be too young to get it now. We’ll see 🙂

    Reply
  • August 25, 2010 at 10:27 am
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    Thank you! Brandon keeps me on my toes and helps me to think outside the box in order to help him grow. At first I found it to be a lot of extra work and now I find it helps me to be extremely creative. It has become fun and I really enjoy doing it. @SavonDuJour@xanga – 

    Reply

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