Children With Autism More Sedentary Than Peers Compared with typically developing peers, children with autism average 50 minutes less a day of moderate physical activity and 70 minutes more each day sitting, according to a study in the journal Autism Research and Treatment. However, children with autism perform as well as their typical peers on fitness assessments ... Research in Brief
Free
Research in Brief  |   December 01, 2014
Children With Autism More Sedentary Than Peers
Author Notes
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   December 01, 2014
Children With Autism More Sedentary Than Peers
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.19122014.np
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.19122014.np
Compared with typically developing peers, children with autism average 50 minutes less a day of moderate physical activity and 70 minutes more each day sitting, according to a study in the journal Autism Research and Treatment. However, children with autism perform as well as their typical peers on fitness assessments such as body mass index, aerobic fitness levels and flexibility—results that the researchers say warrant expanding the study to a larger group of children.
Researchers—led by Megan MacDonald, assistant professor in Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences—tested the fitness and physical activity levels of 17 children with autism and 12 children without autism. The assessments, conducted in the OSU Movement Studies in Disability Lab, included activities to measure aerobic fitness, flexibility and handgrip strength, as well as height, weight and body mass index.
Children in the study also wore accelerometers for a week to measure their movement, and parents filled out supplemental forms to report other important information.
Despite being more sedentary, the children with autism lagged behind their peers on only one fitness measure—strength. The results were surprising but also encouraging, showing that children with autism are essentially on physical fitness par with their peers, MacDonald says. “That’s really important for parents and teachers to understand, because it opens the door for them to participate in so many activities.”
More research is needed to determine why children with autism tend to be more sedentary, MacDonald said, but she encourages parents to make physical activity such as a daily walk or trip to the park part of the family’s routine. She also supports school-based adaptive physical education programs designed for a child’s abilities and needs. Some communities also offer programs such as soccer clubs that are inclusive for children with autism or other disabilities.
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2014
Volume 19, Issue 12