Image Courtesy of Pixabay
We all reap the benefits of physical and mental activity. Cardiovascular, neurological, and muscular health is essential as we move through life and into the elderly stages. Exercises of all kinds when young help prevent problems later. But finding exercises and activities beneficial for autistic children can be a challenge owing to their unique needs.
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and pilates are ancient techniques that encourage focus with physical movements. They are unique because they can be as relaxing or as strenuous as you like. This makes them perfect for children as you seek to keep them agile. But studies are finding extra benefits for autistic kids. The poses and movements involved helping autistic children find and maintain a sense of balance.
You don’t need an ASFA certification to learn these and the breathing techniques also help you cope with stress, which is highly beneficial given the sensory onslaught that causes anxiety in autistic children.
Since the Nintendo Wii was released in 2006, it demonstrated that video games needn’t be a passive activity and exercise is possible while gaming. Known as exergaming, you are encouraged to move in a certain way or mimic movements to play.
The physical exercise involved with these games has been shown to reduce the amount of repetitive behavior in autistic children. At the same time, the concentration required to complete in-game activities increases cognitive function and higher learning as your children develop.
Animal therapy is recognized as a valid discipline in mental health. Certain animals show an affinity with humans, which allows bonds to form. Such animals include cats, dogs, and horses. Horses are among the most intelligent, respectable, and compassionate animals on Earth.
While not as strenuous as physical exercise, horseback riding encourages some physical activity. Yet interaction with the animal and trainers increases the social development of ASD children. Additionally, riding a horse and what it takes to stay atop horseback is excellent at developing the necessary motor skills lacking in some autistic kids.
Jumps and Crawls
Of course, simple physical exercise is highly beneficial for ASD children, many of whom lack physical development compared to non-ASD children of the same age. For example, simple star jumps use almost every muscle in the body and get the heart pumping for a great cardio workout.
Additionally, they give your child something to focus on for a set amount of time while they exercise. Bear crawls are another excellent, simple, yet beneficial exercise for your autistic child. They use the upper body mostly and help improve strength, coordination, and awareness.
Run, Throw and Catch
But exercise can be as simple as running or throwing and catching a ball or frisbee. These benefits are minimal physically, but for autistic children, they help immensely with repetition, hand-to-eye coordination, and awareness of limbs and body.
You can help encourage your child’s development of fundamental motor skills simply by playing with them in the yard or at a park. The social aspect also contributes towards behavioral development and interaction.