- Look at your child's interests. There may be sports or activities that build on that interest.
- Decide whether team or individual sports are best for your child. Individual sports include swimming, running, martial arts. These provide structure without the added pressure of being a team member.
- Talk with your child's therapists to get ideas on how to add exercise into your child's daily routine and ask for their help in creating a program your child can follow each day.
- Work with activities that can help improve problem areas, for example, if your child has difficulty with hand-eye coordination, start with exercises such as playing catch with balls or balloons.
- Use the video game programs, such as Wii Fit, which offer benefits of exercise while letting your child feel he is playing a video game.
Remember to make exercise fun and interesting. Sports and other exercise activities help build self-esteem, helps improve overall fitness and well-being and provide social opportunities. Start slow and increase the level of activity gradually to accommodate your child's physical abilities. If your child has physical challenges, talk with your pediatrician or family doctor before creating an exercise program to make sure you are not causing additional problems.
"Exercise Guidelines," Updated 2009, Aug 13, Staff Writer, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois: http://www.ncpad.org/disability/fact_sheet.php?sheet=366§ion=2154
"Physical Exercise and Autism," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Autism-Help.org: http://www.autism-help.org/family-physical-exercise-autism.htm
"Physical Exercise and Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review," 2010 Oct-Dec, Russell Lang et al, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 565-576: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1750946710000073
"Sports, Exercise and the Benefits of Physical Activity for Individuals with Autism," Date Unknown, Geraldine Dawson, Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks: http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/sports-exercise-and-benefits-physical-activity-individuals-autism