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Monday, August 15, 2011

Increased physical activity decreases the symptoms of autism

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While it may sound too good to be true, parents and professionals alike, report increased physical activity results in a many positive changes and decreases the symptoms of autism.

Children with autism are unique individuals. However, the delay manifests itself differently in each child. The similarities shared are the areas of development affected by autism and one of them is undoubtedly their overall physical ability.

Almost all children with autism need occupational and physical therapy, since children with autism tend to have decreased muscle tone, low endurance, and delayed motor skills. Sensory imbalances are also typical with children that have autism and physical activity is quite simply, the best way to provide sensory input.

When a child’s sensory systems are balanced, stimulatory and stereotypical behaviors diminish. All of a sudden, children will no longer spin, rock or hand-flap because their brain is now organized having received the needed input provided by physical activity. When the brain can make sense of the information received, it can be better processed. For example, a child aversive to being touched may feel physically uncomfortable when touched by another person. What if every time a person hugged you it hurt or made you feel itchy? Chances are you’d do whatever necessary to avoid feeling that way again, including reacting behaviorally should someone try to touch you.

If your sensory system was balanced, and being hugged felt like warm gentle pressure, chances are you’d be able to tolerate it and even seek it out. Having your child play and be physically active provides the input necessary to accomplish this regulation.

Parents should let the child guide the activity. This means observing how your child behaves physically and basing activities off that. If your child likes to spin, go to a playground and use the equipment. If your child is very active – running and jumping about – start doing jumping jacks, relay races and jog – all these activities provide massive amounts of sensory input.

Many children do not engage in physical activity, disability or not, so increasing exercise is a recommendation for all parents.

Since children with autism do well with routines and structure, make it an integral part of your day and conduct small activities throughout the day. To help metabolize nutrients and avoid weight-gain consider activity ½ an hour after eating. Walking, running, jumping, playgrounds, hiking, chasing balloons or bubbles – the ideas and child friendly ways to incorporate exercise are near endless.

As always, keep track of what you do, how often you do it and the subsequent changes in your child. You may find increased gastrointestinal function, as exercise can stimulate digestion and the gut, eye contact will increase as the brain becomes more organized and stimulatory behavior will ultimately disappear. It’s important to make learning and growth fun, so include your entire family and enjoy the time you spend together as well as the results.


The Recovery From Autism (RFA) offers parents a thriving support system where they can connect to other parents like them to get advice about parenting or just know about a treatment or the latest techniques to treat autism. Sharing information about treating autism is a huge inflection point for parents with autistic kids. The Recovery From Autism gives them a trusted place where they can get latest information  and resources related to autism treatments that could help their childeren to progress and can even  recover them from Autism.