A FEW THOUGHTS;
incorporating fitness programming into daily activity for students with autism and related developmental disabilities is vital and allowing educators to understand that fitness was necessary for optimal performance in other areas of ability (educational, vocational, social).
It seems now we are entering a Silver (not quite golden yet) Age of "Getting It," that movement and cognitive and social functioning are not mutually exclusive, but part of a wholistic and practical approach.
Providing effective and appropriate fitness programs for the autism (or any, ANY) population requires adherence to a few fundamental concepts:
1) Begin at the current ability level of the individual.
2) Choose movement activities that can be progressed and regressed easily
3) Provide adequate reinforcement for completion of exercises (access to preferred activities or items, behavior-specific praise)
4) Focus on developing strength, stability, and strength endurance first. All else can follow.
5) Fitness and movement time need not be relegated to a single 30-60 minute period but can and should be broken up into 5-15 minute periods throughout the day
The concepts work. I promise. But they are only as useful as they are regularly used. Health and fitness should be a priority as a life skill for every student on the autism spectrum.
Copyright u-fit 2015