Exercise and Autism
Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families
Over the years, there have been many studies linking exercise to improved symptoms and behaviors in children with autism. This is not surprising, as physical activity truly makes us all feel better: It helps offset weight gain, is critical for overall health and well-being, can promote a positive attitude and state of mind, and is also a source of fun! Your child with special needs may see all of these improvements, as well as a potential decrease in aggressive or repetitive behaviors or hyperactivity.
If your child is resistant to trying a new activity, consider these tips:
- Try it at home first. A gym or playground that might be unfamiliar can hinder your child’s willingness to try something new. If you introduce a new game or activity at home, in your backyard or basement, your child may be more willing to participate.
- Make it a family activity. Exercise can easily be incorporated into family time, such as a ball game or game of tag.
- Make it fun! One of the <a=href>best forms of exercise is active play. Keep in mind that your child will be far more willing to exercise if he or she is too busy having fun to notice!
There are many ways to include exercise in your family’s routine:
- Go swimming. Water has soothing benefits, and swimming is a great way for your child to participate in a team sport.
- Dance to favorite music. You and your child will be too busy dancing to remember you are really exercising, too!
- Play an active game of Simon Says. For example, “Simon” may say tasks like jumping jacks, jumping rope or running in place that will keep children moving.
- Play tag. A backyard or neighborhood game of tag can be a wonderful way to combine play with exercise and family time.
- Go horseback riding. Not only is horseback riding a form of physical activity, but it can be very therapeutic for children with autism.
For more suggestions, contact the team at Peak Potential Therapy. We are here to support you and your child with special needs.