Sports such as football, rugby and tennis are not only fantastic ways for us to improve our physical fitness and get in shape, they’re also the perfect medium to meet new people, engage in social situations and take our mind off anything that’s bothering us.
Sport has been shown to have profound benefits for people living with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression by reducing the levels of stress hormones found in our body and instigating the production of endorphins.
Naturally, this begs the question; could these same benefits apply to people living with learning disabilities?
Hobbies and Learning Disabilities
Fortunately, the short answer is yes.
Furthermore, it’s not just sport which can prove to be beneficial, as drama, music, painting and other art forms can also offer profound benefits to people living with learning disabilities and even help to alleviate their symptoms.
It’s important for us all to exercise regularly and in order to maintain a healthy body weight and prevent the development of various health conditions.
The same holds true for people living with learning disabilities.
Taking part in sports can help to greatly improve a person’s self-image – a common problem for people living with learning disabilities.
These same individuals can often avoid activities in which they are underperforming and this can consequently cause many to quit classes or even drop out of school entirely.
By implementing new, enjoyable hobbies into their routine, people with learning disabilities will be more motivated to remain in education and develop themselves in other areas.
One great example can be found in the career of professional basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Johnson has lived with dyslexia from an early age, and this often caused him to struggle with reading and a general lack of self-confidence.
With the help of a compassionate coach and a tailored training regime, Johnson was able to develop his skills immensely with him eventually joining the Los Angeles Lakers in the position of point guard.
Johnson’s rapid rise within the ranks of basketball is not only fantastic motivation for anyone looking to pursue a passion, but a testament to how learning disabilities don’t need to repress personal development.
One of the most common struggles for people living with learning disabilities such as ADHD and dyslexia is the expression of emotions and thoughts with those around them.
Dancing, playing an instrument, drawing and other creative hobbies can provide people with an excellent outlet in which to convey their feelings and this is especially helpful for people living with a learning disability.
These hobbies can also instil confidence as people become proficient with new skills and more understanding of their own capabilities.
In addition, pursuing a creative passion can help make meeting new people that much easier.
Joining a club instantly opens up a new group of people to interact with, each of whom will share similar interests. As a result, this creates natural and enjoyable circumstances for people with learning disabilities to engage with others and develop their social skills.
Whilst it’s still important to maintain current therapies and other treatments, taking part in sports, arts or other hobbies is a great way for individuals with learning disabilities to regain confidence in their own abilities, socialise with new people and find new passions to pursue.
Encompass Dorset is a registered charity working to improve the lives of people living with learning disabilities and enduring mental health illnesses.