The Effects of Physical Activity on the Stereotypic Behaviors of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of physical activity on stereotypical behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Twenty-three children age 5-13 years (6 female and 17 males) participated in this study. Children were asked to participate in 15 min moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. Physical activity was identified as moderate or vigorous based on the child’s heart rate. The child was observed for two and a half hours each day and their behaviors were then classified as either stereotypic behavior or task-engaged behavior. The heart rate data suggested that all children engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity. No significant behavior differences related to exercise on age, gender, and disorder. However, children significantly decreased their stereotypic behaviors, indicating that moderate to vigorous physical activity participation could reduce the amount of stereotypic behaviors for children with ASD regardless of age, gender, and disorder. This suggests that physical activity is a method of modifying stereotypic behaviors in children with ASD.