Yo-yo and Top players with Special Needs kids...

Hey guys and gals-

Some of you know I am the proud parent of three, soon to be four (in june). My youngest (currently) is PDD NOS on the Autism spectrum. He has an official diagnosis and we luckily have a host of therapists who have helped him go from non-communicative to now making simple sentences and starting to learn how to socialize.

Through this journey of Autism I have noticed something with my son. Yo-yos calm him down and focus him in crowded situations. I always have at least two throws on me at all times (one modified and one wing-shape) and whenever he starts to flip out at the supermarket or at a department store or something like that- all I have to do is hand him the modified looper and he is instantly happy and calm.

Now I know your thinking “of course, he’s autistic and the yo-yo spins- he probably zones out on the spinning…” Not the case- what he almost always does is he tries to copy my string tricks with it. It’s like he’s trying to be like Daddy- which I’m told is unusual for Autism.

At home he always asks for a yo-yo if he sees me or my oldest boy doing anything with a yo-yo and he joins us. A social interaction- instead of playing off in a corner by himself (which is common with autism).

In speaking with a couple of other Yo-Dads of autistic kids on the forum I am starting to se a trend- It seems Yo-Yo’s are beneficial to the child. Whether it be an older child developing hand-eye coordination and getting a feeling of success and self-worth learning a new trick or the youngest child who enjoys learning a new activity with a loved one or merely the pleasure of watching something go flying through the air- Yo-yos are helping.

So now I reach out to you- the Yo-yo/Spin Top/Skill Toy community- please share with me any and all stories or anecdotes or even ideas you have dealing with not just Autism, but any disability or learning disorder.

I have a unique opportunity in my career- I am a Martial Arts instructor- to work with many Special Needs children on a daily basis outside of their normal schooling and/or therapies. With your stories, and research on my own with the therapists I have for my son, I am hoping to come up with a special traveling “program” that is designed to entertain and build self confidence through motor-skill based toys in conjunction with physical activities and games. An educational and interactive seminar that both parent and child can bring home with them and “play to help”.

I am not asking for any help aside from your stories- I’m not doing this to make a buck. I’m doing it for my son. His name is Eli. I plan on calling the program “Eli Hops- Playing to Help”.

Thanks in advance for your help. I look forward to your stories.


I used to have a more mild case of autism, I think I was diagnosed around three or four, but it went away. No one knows why, but now someone would have no idea of how I used to be. What’s strange is that it started fading away around when I first picked up a yoyo…


Thank you Sensei Dave for sharing that story and started this movement. One of my younger brothers has autism. He has is 5 and has made some very good progress from having almost no speech to speaking 4 to 5 words at a time now. I have not notice my yoyoing affecting him in any way, but I do think maybe thing like yoyos, tops, or diabolos may stimulate their minds in a positive way. I think anything that can cause them to think in way outside of their thought cycle is a good thing. Please keep everyone here post of how things are going with your son.

Here’s a quick update on “Eli Hops”. Since making this post here and on another forum I have been getting an amazing amount of support from this community through both replies and PM’s. I feel overwhelmed with good feelings and the assurances that this is a worthwhile project. Thank you so much.

I am now looking for reference materials to help further educate myself so I can do this right. As I mentioned before my son currently has 3 in home therapists and they are all very excited about this project as well. The lead service provider. Is looking into getting me any and all reference material she can.

I’m very excited- and it helps to know that I have your support as well. Keep the stories and advice coming! Any book titles that you know of would be.great too!

1 Like

:slight_smile: Very Moving…

I just finished this… what do you think?

1 Like

I think I smell a T-Shirt design… Mmmmhmmm I might just have to get one made :smiley: Keep it up Dave, I love it.

This is very inspiring. My cousin is Autistic. I don’t know where he falls on the spectrum but its probably in the middle somewhere. When he came to visit me I was diabolo-ing. The minute i started teaching him to spin in he had a huge smile on his face. And even made eye contact to me while talking (a rare occurrence with him). Well, to make a long story short he now has a diabolo. Although i hear he more enjoys the colors on it than actually diabolo-ing with it, it made my day just playing with him and having him open up to me.


i love this thread
makes me feel all warm inside
feels good man


I know what you mean, my son is Autistic, smack dab in the middle of the Spectrum he has literal “Autism” not PDD or Asperger Syndrome, Rett or CDD, just Autism. Anyhow when you start throwing around him he just lights up, I think it is in part to the rythmatic and repetitive motions associated with yoyoing. He will sit there and watch me, soon as I bind, he loses focus but if I throw it again he is instantly mesmerized, I got him a cheapy Butterfly and granted he can’t do so much as a gravity pull he still has fun trying to act like daddy, it is pretty hard sometimes considering he isn’t very close to me since I was deployed till he was 6 months old. It makes me feel like I matter to him and vice versa, which is something I will never stop fighting for, I love my kids and I feel like yoyoing is a key to connecting with my son, I hope that Eli Hops can take flight, shoot if I had any cash I would be donating to this amazing cause.


I really like it. I don’t know if you already know about this or not but this woman Temple Grandin is Autistic. She is one of the biggest Autism supporters and go around the country giving speeches of what it like to autistic and how best to help those who are autistic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Grandin This will tell a little about her. HBO made a movie about her. It is very good. When I watched it, I got a real idea of want goes on in a autistic mind and how it processes information. I highly recommend watching it. Thanks for the update and the continued good work.

The newest version of the logo… comments and criticisms always appreciated!

Dave, what about the Autism Support Puzzle Piece maybe shrunk and put on the outside of the NTH sleeve, something that would pridefully show it’s associated with ASD Support, just an idea when I looked at it again, btw that is my new wallpaper :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

i was thinkin about doing a yoyo i got alot time on my hands now so ive got a name for my yoyo (Super Eli)what do you think? and what kind of shape does he like ???

wait joe, you mean you are making a yoyo? this is really hard to do, and not to be agist, but i don’t think that a 13 year old can do this alone. just using a lathe publicly i think is prohibited until 16. i am not trying to discourage you, but at least think it through all the way and don’t jump on this with your heart set on a yoyo for a while. learn the process first.

back to topic: i have ADD, and yoyoing helps calm me down. i have been pretty mellow for a lot of my life (that is why there is no H) but yoyoing helps me focus on other things (that is, when i am not distracting myself with it). a lot of the time i study with someone who asks me questions and i answer while yoyoing.

i suport this effort all the way.

1 Like

WHOA, the wifey just hit me with a heavy design idea for that Dave, fill in the “1” with the Puzzle Piece design. That color would POP in the black. Again just some constructive criticism.

1 Like

i would be crazy doin this alone dude ive got my dad and his freinds im in tech so im clear on doin demensions and other stuff we got matirial and im not gonna paint

In all honesty, the logo is good, but something about the limbs doesn’t do it for me. Idk, maybe define the legs more, because at first glance it is hard to see the detail.

just my two cents

but otherwise great job.

1 Like

You mean Eli my 2 year old son? The yo-yo in my collection that is HIS favorite is probably my Dark Magic 1. He loves a big wing shape. Making a yo-yo… AND naming it Eli… Thats massively cool- please post pictures of it when you’re done!

ok so ill try and base it off of my dm1 but the full metal version

1 Like

Glad to see you have thought this out and have help.

1 Like