3 Ways Your Autistic Child Will Benefit From Fishing Trips

Posted on

Whether you've always loved fishing or you're interested in trying it for the first time, you may be hesitant to undertake this family hobby if you have a child on the autism spectrum. However, outdoor activities like fishing are a great way to help your child develop in multiple ways. Here are 3 things regular fishing trips will do for your autistic son or daughter.

Improve Their Communication

One of the main problems autistic children deal with is poor communication and social interaction abilities. While these issues may be 'hard-wired' into your child's brain, they can always be worked on and improved. Improving these communication skills will benefit the whole family by helping your child to express their needs more effectively and understand what others are expressing to him or her. 

Going on a fishing trip provides lots of opportunities for communication. Being in a new environment can spur on a desire to talk and express new thoughts and emotions. The diverse environment will give you the opportunity to teach your child new vocabulary and concepts, broadening their language abilities. Being out in nature can also have a positive effect on your child's emotions; watching the water and successfully catching a fish can both make your child feel happier, encouraging them to communicate with you.

Improve Their Motor Skills

While movement isn't one of the core problems associated with autism, research indicates that the condition does affect children's motor skills. Motor skill refers to a child's ability to control their bodily movements, and both gross motor skills (large movements like walking) and fine motor skills (small movements like writing) are a key aspect of development for all children. 

Fishing is a great activity to develop motor skills. Casting and pulling in a fishing line helps develop gross skill, helping your autistic child move their arms efficiently and accurately at the right time. Fine motor skills can be improved when your child learns to bait the fishing hook safely and reel in the fish they've caught.

Improve Their Executive Function

Executive dysfunction -- the inability to plan, remember, solve problems, focus and organise -- is a problem commonly associated with conditions like ADHD. However, it's also something that affects as many as 80% of autistic children. Executive function is key to succeeding in education and work, so it's important to improve any problems where possible.

Fishing helps with executive function in multiple ways. Planning and organising can be worked on when you prepare for your fishing trip. Ask your child to help you purchase fishing equipment and checklist all the items as they're packed. Problem solving and focus are also important in fishing, and your child will be able to work on these skills naturally as they develop their fishing ability. The excitement of catching a fish is likely to encourage your child to take an interest in improving their executive functions.