Why Exercise?

Challenging Autism with Exercise


Exercise for those with autism doesn’t just help to increase their level of fitness; research shows that it is a building block to improving their focus, maladaptive behaviors, social skills and language development. Families impacted with autism and developmental disorders are continuously trying to improve their child’s life through various means, including behavioral and motor therapies, diet, and other cognitive therapies. While all of these efforts are vital during early childhood, many parents have found that exercise will pave the way for the best possible future.

Our National Survey of Autism Treatment Effectiveness, based on over 700 autism families, found that exercise was the number 1 rated treatment overall, with a rating of 4.2/5, substantially higher than the 2nd highest rated treatment with a 3.8/5.

James B. Adams, Ph.D.
Presentation at the US Autism/Asperger’s Conference

For many children exercise is provided in Occupational and Physical Therapy. But when they have met their milestones, become pain free, or insurance runs out, it unfortunately comes to an end. As teenagers and young adults, their need for movement and sensory integration doesn’t stop, and exercise helps fill the gap.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates Physical Education is the responsibility of the school, but many are not doing it. As these children progress into teenagers and adults, we are finding that exercise plays a more important role as it provides critically needed focus and self-confidence, resulting in maximizing job opportunities.

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