With all the benefits of exercise and activity, it is recommended that children with autism partake in at least 60 minutes daily of aerobic physical activities. It’s difficult for them to get excited about anything else because they’re so focused on their environment and needs. But what if there was a way for parents to allow their child to have fun without being distracted by sensory stimuli? Enter virtual reality technology!
“full-body exercises at home” is a program that has been created for autistic children. The program teaches the children how to do full body exercises at home.
Gross and fine motor abilities may be more difficult for children with autism. Creating an exercise program for them will aid in the management of these co-occurring issues. This strategy may be designed with the support of a physical therapist, doctor, or behavior therapist.
A youngster with autism may benefit from an at-home fitness and activity plan. Larger outdoor areas, such as playgrounds, or interior spaces, such as gyms, might overstimulate children, resulting in sensory processing issues.
Squats, weighted carries, yoga, ball throwing, jumping jacks, pushups, and planks are all recommended at-home activities. These are all multi-muscle, multi-tendon, multi-bone exercises that can help your kid increase core strength, balance, muscular tone, and heart health. Begin small and seek expert assistance.
In general, an at-home fitness plan may help to alleviate the severity of many autistic symptoms and associated disorders.
The Benefits of At-Home Exercise & Activity for Children With Autism
Behavioral or developmental obstacles, such as difficulty comprehending social settings, difficulty with both verbal and nonverbal communication, problems with memory or attention, and difficulty with emotional control, particularly around change, are common in people with autism. As more professionals investigate autism and its symptoms, various physical effects, such as difficulty with motor abilities, are becoming linked to this developmental illness.
Gross and fine motor abilities might be affected by autism. Running, balancing, throwing and catching a ball, learning to write, and even eating their food may be difficult for children with autism. While these talents may not come easily to them, children with autism may nevertheless improve their abilities through effort.
Motor deficits should be considered a basic sign for diagnosing autism, according to a 2012 research. The research looked at 144 children from 67 households, all of whom had at least one kid on the autistic spectrum.
Physical therapists employ standardized procedures to assess fine and gross motor control in children with impairments or disorders, and these assessments were used in this research to see how autism affects movement development. A number of tests were provided to children on the autism spectrum to measure their motor abilities, including:
- Using a pegboard to place pegs.
- Using scissors to cut paper
- Imitating and replicating motions and shapes.
- A ball is being thrown.
- Push-ups are being performed.
When comparing autistic children to their neurotypical siblings, researchers discovered that physical issues such as muscular weakness, balance issues, and fine motor skill deficits were frequent in autistic children. 83 percent of autistic children had below-average motor abilities, while only roughly 6% of their neurotypical siblings had below-average motor skills. Children with more severe motor deficits had more severe autism symptoms, according to the research.
The 6 Best Exercises for Children with Autism to Improve Motor Skills
You want your kid to be healthy and happy, but how do you know which exercises would benefit them the most? To help your kid become stronger, acquire better balance, and focus on fine motor coordination, physical therapists and personal trainers advocate a few particular forms of exercise.
1. Squats: The hips, hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps — the primary muscles in the legs and thighs — are all strengthened by this kind of exercise. These aid with stability, balance, and even walking.
They also aid in the reduction of discomfort and stiffness in these regions for those who sit for long periods of time, such as students who may spend hours at their desks. Squats keep the legs and back flexible, lowering the chance of muscular damage.
2. Loaded carries: This is a basic yet efficient fitness activity. Hand weights may be worn on the sides of the body. Hand weights held above the head helps improve muscles and joints throughout the body in youngsters with superior coordination.
Arms, shoulders, back, core, and hip muscles all acquire optimal alignment during weighted carries. As the youngster wanders back and forth across the room, these regions get stronger.
3. Yoga: This kind of yoga has been honed for decades in studios all over the globe. Yoga, according to physical therapists, is a fantastic technique of stretching and strengthening, as well as increasing balance and attention.
A regular yoga practice unites the body and mind, resulting in reduced stress and improved muscular tone. Yoga may help children with autism relax, develop their core muscles, and get a better understanding of their bodies.
If the youngster is stressed, yoga might help him or her reset. Yoga can be done anywhere, and most positions don’t need any special equipment, so the kid may utilize it as a coping strategy whenever they need it.
4. Ball tossing: Having your kid throw a baseball, softball, or tennis ball with them helps enhance their hand-eye coordination, mental attention, and social skills. In studies involving children with autism, throwing a ball was often combined with other aerobic workouts such as walking or running. There are key aspects of throwing a ball that might be useful on their own when done at home.
It’s also a simple workout to include into one’s everyday routine. Every day, set aside five minutes in the morning to go outdoors and throw a ball around.
5. Jumping jacks: This is a basic cardiovascular activity that may help you gain strength and endurance. Jumping jacks may be used as part of a bigger workout regimen or to assist your kid burn off some energy and improve their ability to concentrate.
Children with autism in school settings have shown that taking numerous brief activity breaks throughout the day helps them concentrate better. Jumping jacks may be done at home to keep your youngster engaged and healthy.
6. Push-ups or planks: Both of these exercises work the muscles in your arms and core, as well as the back, shoulders, knees, thighs, and wrists.
The push-up stance begins with planks, but the position is sustained for a certain length of time. Push-ups are performed by bending the elbows to a 90-degree angle, which increases the amount of effort done by the arm, chest, and shoulder muscles. Knees on the ground may be used to modify both workouts.
Both push-ups and planks are excellent strength-builders, even when modified. They may be done for a few seconds to a few minutes at a time, in between activities or as part of an at-home workout.
These exercises are simple to do at home, either indoors or outside in the yard. You may perform them alongside your kid or include them into their daily routine when they arrive home from school, need a break from schoolwork, or are at home during school holidays.
Children with autism may benefit from at-home exercise, according to research.
It’s crucial to find methods to get your kid involved in physical activity and exercise, yet many outdoor locations and gyms may cause sensory overload. It provides you the flexibility to exercise in a secure, comfortable atmosphere when you select activities you can undertake at home with your kid or in a peaceful outdoor place. Without feeling overwhelmed, these exercises may help your kid build stronger muscles, better balance, and a greater knowledge of their body and movement.
Physical activity and exercise for children with autism, according to clinicians, may assist with a variety of symptoms, including:
Regular exercise may also assist to boost one’s self-esteem. Children may not only reduce weight if necessary, but they can also feel better about how their bodies function. When exercise is included in a child’s daily routine, they may see significant improvements in their skills.
It has been demonstrated that when strenuous exercise is paired with evidence-based behavior treatment, autistic symptoms improve the most. If it’s suitable, talk to your child’s behavior therapist about including exercise into their treatment sessions.
As you develop your child’s at-home exercise routine, get medical advice.
Children who have trouble with motor skills may show emotional outbursts, rejection, reluctance to perform particular activities, and other behavioral disorders as a result of their physical limitations. Understanding how to promote your kid’s physical health via exercise and activities, particularly those that can be done at home, can assist your child in becoming the most self-reliant and joyful person possible.
Learning healthy habits begins at a young age, whether or not your kid is on the autism spectrum. Specific treatments for children with autism may help them maintain their physical health and feel good about themselves.
Consult your physician, behavior therapist, or physical therapist for advice on how to create an at-home fitness and activity program that meets your child’s specific requirements. Consider the following points when you apply this program at home:
- Begin with modest steps, such as during commercial breaks while watching TV, in between homework tasks, or after you return home from school. Increase the amount of time you spend on the activity each week.
- Strength, flexibility, endurance, and motor abilities may all be improved by combining exercises. Make the routine more interesting.
- If your youngster is resistant to one kind of exercise, try another. Don’t push yourself too much. You may always bring an activity back at a later time.
- Support and encourage them by participating in the program alongside them. Make the process enjoyable.
- To model the exercise, use visual components such as cards with activity imagery, physical examples, or films.
- Seek guidance from an expert, such as a physical therapist, on which exercises will help your kid the most.
- Look for methods to include exercise in your daily routine. Encourage your youngster to assist you in the yard or with vehicle washing.
You may even take steps to ensure that your whole family is healthy and fit. If you’ve never had an exercise regimen before, establish one with your other family members or invite some of your child’s school friends to join you. You are instilling in your kid the importance of exercising as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle and providing them with an activity that they can continue into adulthood.
Exercising has several advantages. It makes you stronger, improves your cardiovascular health, and makes you feel better about yourself. Children with autism benefit even more, since it helps them improve balance, motor skills, and stress levels, among other things.
Autism Spectrum Disorders Signs and Symptoms (27th of August, 2019). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a U.S. government agency that (CDC).
According to a new study, autism has an impact on motor skills. (14 February 2012). St. Louis’ Washington University.
Autism, Exercise, and New Possibilities (August 12, 2015). The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is in charge of preventing and promoting disease (ODPHP).
Squats Have a Lot of Benefits for Runners. (As of June 2019). Runners World is a publication dedicated to runners.
Loaded Carries are easy to use, efficient, and work the whole body. (As of January 2019) Men’s Wellness.
Yoga Provides Significant Benefits to Children With Autism. Yoga is a worldwide movement.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder should engage in physical activity. (February 2006). Adapted Physical Education is a term that refers to a kind of physical education that
Exercises for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (March 15, 2015) Center for Secondary Education for Students with ASD; Autism at a Glance (CSESA).
The Rise of Push-Ups: A Time-Honored Exercise That Can Help You Build Muscle. (In February of this year). The Health Blog of Harvard Medical School.
A Meta-Analytic Review of the Effects of Physical Exercise Interventions on Cognition in Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD Patients. (Aug. 2016) The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders is a publication dedicated to the study of autism and developmental disorders.
Is There a Link Between Autism and Exercise? (Updated September 2018). Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about
Children with autism benefit from exercise because it improves their social skills. (2016, September). Spectrum.
The Impact of a Structured Physical Activity Program on Children with Autism’s Social Interaction and Communication (January 2018). BioMed Research International is a non-profit organization dedicated to medical research.
New Possibilities, Exercise, and Autism (2015, August). The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is in charge of preventing and promoting disease.
Using Exercise to Challenge Autism: An Opportunity Worth Stretching For (Mid-March/Early-April 2017). The Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
A Study Protocol on the Effects of a Physical Exercise Program (PEP-Aut) on Stereotyped Behavior, Metabolic and Physical Activity Profiles, Physical Fitness, and Health-Related Quality of Life in Autistic Children. (March of this year). Frontiers in Public Health is a journal dedicated to the study of public health issues.
The “beginner workout at home without equipment” is a program that helps autistic children exercise and develop social skills. It was developed by the Autism Treatment Center of America.
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Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.