P.E problems

Hi everyone 

I’m mum to five children, one girl diagnosed with autism aged 10 (11 next month), one boy aged 7 currently awaiting assessment for ASD and ADHD after previously being told nothing wrong by paediatric doc but consultant saw autism and attention issues, one boy aged 4 currently under assessment for ASD and two girls aged 9 and 12 who are neurotypical.

Really struggling with our 10 year old daughter, school have been little to no help all her school life, she doesn’t do P.E. and becomes really distressed when it’s P.E day at school and when school try to force the issue. We are finally getting the autism service involved with school but she moves to secondary school in September and I am worried about what’s to come. Has anyone else been through similar issue.

  • A few of my friends who have Autistic kids have had the same issue. The way they solved it is to make it a habit and part of their schedules on the weekends, so every weekend they would drive to the nearby park or go to the beach (if it's the holidays) and go for long walks there. After a while there should be a change, but it will take some time for the change to happen. Just don't force the issue on your child and give positive thoughts on how well she did for the weekend exercise and the change will eventually happen.

  • Hello. I am really sorry to hear your daughter is struggling at school. I struggled at school as well and they were less than supportive which resulted in my mum home schooling me, though I realise this isn't an option everybody can do.

    Perhaps it might be an idea to get in touch with her new school now, tell them about the situation and maybe they will try and set some help up for her before she gets there in September. Hopefully her new school will help her with this.

  • She does cheer and Pom dance on a Friday and Saturday which she really enjoys but she struggles with dressing and undressing especially in communal areas, also she knows what happens at cheer and Pom as the class is very routine led and i see it as a therapy session for her because it’s something she enjoys and keeps her active

  • Primary school have been told strictly no P.E as her anxiety is through the roof at just the thought, she struggles with dressing and also has quite severe trust issues with adults outside of the home, she is selective mute and only talks at home to me, dad and siblings. Primary school have tried forcing the issue and it’s caused an emotional breakdown and now I’m being informed that secondary will expect her to change in kit and even if not participating actively she would have to referree or keep score but until we know her placement they can’t assess her needs. We’re involving autism services at school and I’m also pushing for an EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) because it’s a legal document and they’re not really sticking to her My Plan. I’d love to look at the home schooling option but with four other children it’s not ideal as they’d expect the same and learning the curriculum. Plus home is their safe space and calm bringing a classroom atmosphere would upset that.

  • From what you're describing, it sounds like getting changed into her PE kit in front of people is one of her main worries, would it be possible for the school to let her get changed somewhere more privately? (At least for now, reviewing the situation later if necessary?)

    PE can also be a bit of a nightmare if someone lacks good physical coordination (speaking from personal experience), I don't know whether that applies here, but it sounds helpful that the new school would let her be a referee.

  • I hope you dont mind me poking my nose in here but I go through something similar to your daughter so feel I may be able to offer some help here. I dont like P.E. either. Never have. Its to noisy and i hate having to use the changing rooms. In little school I didn’t like changing with the other girls and come big school i started having panic attacks everytime it was P.E. day. Im very shy and changing in front of people I dont know stresses me out big time. So my mum spoke to the school and they came up with a couple of ways for me to get over this problem.

    • Wearing P.E. clothes under my school uniform. This worked ok. I was able to take of my uniform and then was good to go but during the summer was impossible to do because of the heat.
    • Waiting for the other girls to get changed and then go in and change after them. This worked good but sometimes people would come back for forgotten items so that made me stressed.
    • Change in the toilet cubicles. This is the one which worked best for me. I’m 16 now and still get changed this way everytime we have P.E. . Its stopped all the stress and anxiety. People obviously come in the toilets but it’s ok because I’m shieled by the cubicle wall.

    I dont know if this will help your daughter but its something you might want to consider and tlak with her about. It helped me and still helps now so hopefully it might help you to.

  • Cheer and Bom dance is good, and from what you're describing it's changing in public that is the problem. If the school will allow it, she could change while in a separate changing rooms that that people aren't using or in a toilet if no other changing rooms are available. Cheer and Bom are set to be very routine based and a lot of people with Autism like having routine in their day-to-day life so it is a therapy session in a way.

  • Thank you, some thoughts to look into, she doesn’t like any aspect of P.E at all within school environment 

  • I think because she knows what to expect and the structure and routine is very good, she’s absolutely amazing and very flexible and bendy

  • I think it would be that she knows what to expect, structure and routine is something that a lot of Autistics like to have in their everyday life as it helps us to cope with everything that's happening.