Let's Get Physical (Physical)
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
One of the hardest things for people of all ages and abilities is exercise, without a doubt. But, exercise can have a number of positive effects for a child's overall health, behavior and stress levels. Exercise releases neurotransmitters, including endorphins and dopamine, which can affect the brain's overall functioning. For children with autism, exercise can be crucial for improving their attention spans and concentration. The article "Can exercise improve behavior? Help encouraging a child who has autism," details that it is important for a parent to encourage their child and consider their preferences when it comes to exercise. The article also states that it might be beneficial for a parent to join the child in the exercise as a role model when introducing a new activity. The article "Autism and exercise: Are there special benefits?" provides a list of tips to encourage regular physical activity with your child. The list includes: starting small, building motor skills, sampling different types of physical activity, being a role model and enlisting friends and family in the activities. In this time of such uncertainty and uncomfortableness, it is so important that parents remain to do their best to keep their children healthy and engaged. Whether the activity includes an organized sports program or just kicking or throwing a ball back and forth in the front yard, or maybe even yoga. I have provided a website below (YoreMi) that details some of the wonderful ways in which yoga can help with sensory integration to improve a child's body awareness, spatial awareness, and motor control, among many other things. There are videos embedded in the webpage that demonstrate poses to do with your child. One quote featured on the article that I particularly love is, "There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what he cannot do" (Temple Grandin). Having some fun and vigorous outdoor time or just getting a nice stretch in would be good for all of us right now. Get out there and have some fun!