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Selecting Autism-Friendly Activities for Spring

With Winter slowly wrapping up it’s time to start planning for Spring! Hopefully, those plans include opportunities to get outside and exercise. But what are the best ways to include your family members on the spectrum? You’ve heard getting enough exercise not only can help you look better, but it can make you feel better, too. Here’s something you may not have heard: exercise may have additional benefits to individuals with autism.

According to Spectrum News, “Dozens of small studies suggest that, aside from boosting motor skills, movement-based therapies may improve social communication, attention, behavioral issues and performance on academic tasks.”

It goes on to explain, “What’s more, children with autism tend to shy away from recreational exercise and sports. One reason for this reluctance may be poor motor skills.” So how do you get someone interested in physical exercise if it is something they won’t attempt?

“While there are always exceptions to the rule, cooperative team sports such as soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and hockey may be particularly tough for your autistic child,” according to VeryWellHealth.

Julia Connelly, Ph. D explained to HealthFeed, “While organized team sports might be the go-to for many, those who have autism often struggle with these activities because of communication and social difficulties.”

People with autism might be more likely to try sports and activities where there are less social cues required or ones where they are more comfortable. Some of these sports or activities include:

  • swimming
  • golfing
  • track and field
  • biking
  • horseback riding
  • walking/hiking

There are many articles on this topic. Read more about great ways to get kids with autism outside enjoying sports and activities here:

General articles:

Defying Expectations, People with Autism are Participating and Excelling in Sports

John Wertheim and Stephanie Apstein, 11/01/16

What are the Best Sports for Kids With Autism

Lisa Jo Rudy, 07/04/17

Choosing a Sport for Your Son or Daughter with ASD

Car Autism Roadmap, 11/18/14

4 Ways Children with Autism Can Benefit from Sports and Fitness

SAAC, 11/10/15

Swimming:

How Swimming Boosts Happiness for Autistic Children

SASSNA, 07/11/15

The Key Benefits of Swimming for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Texas Swim Academy

Golfing:

Can Golf Help Children with Autism?

Blue Autism Project, 04/18/17

Kids with Autism Take a Swing at Golf, Courtesy of PGA Pro Ernie Els

Kathleen O’Brien, 06/08/15

Track and field:

Runner with Autism Finds Success on the Track

John Hanc, 06/03/14

Why Track and Field Can Be Good for Autistic Children

Be The Best Sport, 09/15/17

Biking:

Benefits of Bike Riding for Children with Special Needs

Be The Best Sport, 09/15/17

Equestrian/horseback riding:

Dad: Horse Riding Helped His Son with Autism

Emily Friedman, 04/17/09

Not Just Horsing Around: Psychologists Put Their Faith in Equine Therapies

Tracy McVeigh, 02/25/12

Walking/Hiking:

Nature and Autism

AutismandNature.org

Asperger’s and Hiking: Made for Each Other?

Murray Ostrov, 12/10/14

Hiking Helps Child Cope with Asperger’s

Michelle Fields, 09/22/15

Now it’s time to get your spring activities scheduled! Get out there and enjoy the fresh air!

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