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Sports and Autism in ABA Therapy

Combining sports and autism can be beneficial for kids on the spectrum.

Written by: Joshua Sleeper

The many benefits of mixing sports and autism in ABA therapy

Combining sports and autism can be beneficial for kids on the spectrum, their families and their communities. At Trumpet, we value all domains of development in our young clients, so we often include opportunities for physical activity in ABA therapy.

Why combining sports and autism is important

Unfortunately, over half of children with autism in the United States are overweight or at risk of developing problems with their weight. This puts these children at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone issues and more. Coupled with other common sidecars to autism, including depression, anxiety and gastrointestinal disorders, these illnesses can be even worse for kids as they grow.

Decreased physical activity is often thought to cause weight gain in children with autism. Restricted and repetitive movement is a hallmark of autism spectrum disorder, as are communication and social difficulties. These symptoms can make it seem impossible to mix sports and autism. This is why it is important to address physical health through ABA therapy early on.

The benefits of mixing physical activity, sports and autism

By incorporating play and exercise into the ABA therapy plan, we see many positives for the child, even beyond an improvement in their physical health.

  • Long-term health. Regular physical activity controls our weight, combats disease, lifts our mood, boosts our energy and improves the quality of our sleep. Exercise is healthy for everyone. Parents may also benefit from adopting a healthy lifestyle for the good of their child.
  • Socialization. Whether it be with coaches or teammates, weaving physical activity into the ABA therapy plan increases opportunities for communication and teamwork.
  • Independence. Together, sports and autism can increase self-esteem builders like regulation, coordination, planning and autonomy.
  • Fun. Play is a child’s work. Through play, kids express themselves, release energy, use their imagination and engage with the world around them.

Contact us to learn about making sports and autism part of your ABA therapy plan.