First, have music. For any sport or activity with special needs children, music is key. They love music. So after you explain directions put it on while they do their activity then stop it again when you are explaining something new.

Also, I like to give each child a partner that does not have a disability to help them focus and do the activity to the best of their ability. But only if this is available.

Have enthusiasm with everything!!!!!! If something goes well or if they do the activity correctly or well, get excited!!!! High fives, cheering, clapping. They feed off your enthusiasm.

  • Touch:
    The best way to start is to put a ball at the child’s feet and have them hit it between their feet while standing in one spot. (Always be conscious that some of the children will not be able to do some of the activities.) Then I like to have them tap the top of the ball with one foot and switch back and forth while still standing in one spot. Both of these activities get the child to get a touch on the ball and a feel for the soccer ball.
  • Passing:
    If the child has one of the partners listed above, practice passing between the partner and the child. Line the children up on a line in the gym or field and have the partner stand across from him or her. Demonstrate a proper pass and have the child repeat it to the best of their ability to their partner. If they are good at passing the partner can back up for a harder, longer pass.
  • Dribbling:
    Have the child dribble the ball to the other side of a court or field. Some will be able to keep it close to them, some will just poke the ball with their foot. If they are doing well with dribbling, have the child jog. If they are not quite grasping it just keep it to a walk.

For a little fun, set up many goals (trash cans, cones) around the gym or field with lots of soccer balls in the area. Tell the children to find a ball, dribble it a goal, and pass it into the goal. REMEMBER: ENTHUSIASM/EXCITEMENT FOR EVERY GOAL!!!!!!!!!!