WHAT IS AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER?
Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental condition which impacts on social skills and interactions, communication (verbal and non-verbal), repetitive patterns of behaviour and motor skills. The latest research has found that 1 in 70 Australians have ASD, with males 4 times more likely to have ASD than females.
HOW CAN EXERCISE HELP ASD?
Exercise is effective in combatting the health detriments of physical inactivity and also managing more specific autistic symptoms. Developing behaviour change and ongoing participation in exercise presents a challenge for those with ASD due to impaired motor functioning, poor motivation and attention, increased sensory stimuli and challenges with self-monitoring. For exercise to be effective it needs to be tailored towards the individual, with respect to their needs, functional capacity and interests. Exercise is important for people of all ages with ASD to promote a healthy lifestyle through enhancing behaviour and physical health and wellbeing. Regular participation in moderate-vigorous exercise for those with ASD has been found to improve repetitive and self-stimulating behaviour, hyperactivity, aggression and poor concentration or motivation. Exercise reduces anxiety and depression which is common in those with ASD. Reducing any destructive behaviours that may be detrimental to cognitive function, learning and social interactions. Exercise has been found to promote improved physical health and wellbeing of individuals with ASD who typically display poor motor patterning (both fine and gross movements), reduced strength, aerobic fitness, posture, poor balance and coordination. Exercise programs are designed by exercise physiologists tailoring the program to improve these specific areas while considering other needs and interests of the participant with the overall goal of promoting enjoyment and lifelong positive participation in exercise.
WHAT TYPES OF EXERCISE?
Slowly and safely progress towards 150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. Starting off with as little as 5-10 minutes of continuous exercise for 1-2 days a week and progress towards 30-60 minutes 5-7 days a week.· This should consist of cardiovascular exercise (e.g. walking, running and swimming), 2 sessions of resistance training (e.g. machine weights, free weights, bands and body weight exercises), stretching and balance activities. There should be a specific focus on fundamental movement skills (e.g. walking, running, throwing and jumping).
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?
Our exercise physiologists will complete a comprehensive assessment to ensure exercise prescription is safe, and individualised to your conditions and needs. We offer a range of services including but not limited to: HydrotherapyGym-based exercise therapyHome-based exercise therapyGroup sessionsPilates It is recommended that you to speak with your general practitioner or specialist prior to commencing an exercise program.