2 Απριλίου 2019, Παγκόσμια Ημέρα Αυτισμού: Does physical activity have special benefits for people with autism?
The phrase “exercise is medicine” is a common refrain among fitness experts and health practitioners. A wealth of research gives credence to this truism. And now – thanks to a growing number of studies involving youth with autism – we can confidently say that physical activity provides them with a wide range of benefits.
Tips for making physical activities autism friendly, here are three practical strategies commonly used in activity programs designed for youth who have autism:
* Someone who understands. Ideally, we want people with autism – especially children and teens – to have access to physical activity programs led by facilitators who understand how to communicate and motivate participants in autism-friendly ways. This doesn’t have to be a professional in the field of autism. It can even be a “peer tutor” – another child who understands how to communicate with your child and can provide some one-on-one support.
* Get visual. Many people with autism are visual learners. Visual supports such as task cards, physical demonstrations and video modelling often prove very helpful.
* Routine. Most of us need routine, and this appears to be especially true for many people on the spectrum. I suggest building a regular and predictable structure into the physical activity program. Create a visual schedule to help reinforce the routine. (See the Autism Speaks Visual Supports Tool Kit link above for instructions on making a visual schedule.)
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