Autism Spectrum Disorder
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are usually less able to interact with the world as other children do. They typically have deficits in verbal and non-verbal communication, social awareness and interactions and imaginative play (variable interests and behaviours). As children with ASD often find it difficult to interact and/or communicate in social contexts, and often experience repetitive patterns of behaviours and interests, it can sometimes make it difficult to engage in healthy lifestyle interventions.
Exercise can help manage the negative heath implications of physical inactivity on overall health, and can also help manage a number of Autism-specific symptoms. Research supports the benefits related to motor development and physical fitness, as well as decreases in repetitive, stereotyped, and self-injurious behaviours, and improvements related to cognition. Exercise has been reported to contribute to, or enhance, treatment outcomes, help manage behaviours, improve academic performance, as well as provide holistic health benefits and minimise health risks associated with inactivity.