This week is World Autism Acceptance Week.

We’re helping to highlight awareness and acceptance of autism for World Autism Acceptance Week.

It is widely accepted that sport and physical activity has amazing benefits for both the body and the mind. As well as helping people keep active, fit, and healthy, sports also help to increase people’s confidence, enhance social skills and improve mental well-being. Anybody taking part in sports and physical activity will feel these benefits, however, for those on the autism spectrum, these changes can be life-altering.

Despite the exceptional benefits of taking part in sports and physical activity, there are still many barriers to entry, both real and perceived, that those on the autism spectrum face.

The National Autistic Society has collected several real responses those on the autism spectrum gave when asked why they didn’t want to participate in sports and fitness activities:

  • ‘I have been put off from bad experiences during high school.’
  • ‘Lack of confidence, lack of opportunity, lack of information.’
  • ‘Poor physical coordination, pressure to compete.’
  • ‘I couldn’t follow or understand the instructions.’
  • ‘I am nervous around strangers.’
  • ‘I am uncomfortable in sports clothing.’
  • ‘The rules are not always easy for me to understand.’

Practical Strategies for Engagement

Though there is a range of reasons that people on the autism spectrum may choose not to participate in sports or physical activity, there is a range of practical strategies that can be used to make Taekwondo sessions more accessible to people on the autism spectrum.

The National Autistic Society has provided several practical strategies to deal with a number of the barriers those on the autism spectrum may have when looking to get involved in sports.

These include areas such as:

  • Social Communication.
  • Social Interaction.
  • Restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities, or interests.
  • Sensory issues.

The National Autism Society has created a document that goes into further detail on how to make sports and physical activity more accessible for those who are on the autism spectrum. This document also includes worksheets, visual aids, and practical strategies to engage everyone in the sport.

If you have any questions on how to accommodate students on the autism spectrum or those with additional needs, please do not hesitate to contact the Annie Rogan, Disability Development Officer at