Challenging Autism with Exercise: An Opportunity Worth Stretching For
By David S. Geslak, BS, ACSM EP-C, CSCS
By using the right approach with evidence-based strategies to teach exercise, it will become an integral part of their daily routine. With this population, exercise not only establishes a lifelong healthy habit, it increases confidence, improves focus, and reduces symptoms associated with autism. The results speak for themselves, and they speak in a loud, clear voice; exercise creates life-changing opportunities for the children, adults, families, and their newfound coach.
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By reading this article, the health and fitness professional will:
- Gain a better understanding of autism — Those with autism learn differently. You will learn a successful and proven approach in teaching exercise using visuals, creating structured routines, and establishing the right goals for those with autism.
- See an opportunity to help— School systems that are challenged with limited resources are leaving those with autism both wandering and wondering in physical education classes. Parents of children with autism who are already overwhelmed with therapies, education, and difficult family dynamics need your help to introduce the proven benefits of exercise. This is important, not only because of the health benefits exercise brings, but in the autism population, exercise also helps to reduce maladaptive behaviors and improves focus and academics.
Keywords: Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Exercise, Asperger, Fitness