People with autism are at an increased risk of developing physical and mental health problems as they age. Some of these health problems may be due to genetic factors, but many can be attributed to sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition, which are more common among people with autism.
Autism is a complex developmental disorder that can affect a person’s communication, behavior, and social skills. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising an autistic child, there are some general tips that can help promote an active and healthy lifestyle.
1. Make physical activity fun and engaging.
One of the best ways to get children with autism moving is to make physical activity fun and engaging. This could involve playing active games, going for walks or bike rides, or swimming. It is important to find activities that your child enjoys and that are appropriate for their individual needs and interests.
2. Be patient and understanding.
Children with autism may need some extra support and encouragement to get moving. It is important to be patient and understanding, and to offer positive reinforcement when they do participate in physical activity. You may also need to be creative and find ways to make physical activity more appealing to your child.
3. Tailor activities to your child’s individual needs.
Some children with autism may have sensory sensitivities that make certain activities difficult or uncomfortable. For example, they may not like loud noises or bright lights. It is important to be aware of your child’s individual needs and to tailor activities accordingly. You may need to find activities that are less stimulating or that take place in a quiet environment.
4. Involve the whole family.
Making physical activity a family affair can help make it more enjoyable for everyone. This could involve going for walks together, playing sports, or dancing in the living room. Getting the whole family involved can help to create a more positive and supportive environment for physical activity.
5. Set realistic goals.
It is important to set realistic goals for physical activity. This will help to prevent your child from becoming discouraged. Start with small goals, such as walking for 10 minutes a day, and gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of activity over time.
6. Find a supportive community.
There are many resources available to help families of children with autism promote an active and healthy lifestyle. These resources can provide support, advice, and information. There are also many online communities where families can connect with each other and share tips and ideas.
7. Be patient and persistent.
It may take some time and effort to get your child involved in physical activity. However, it is important to be patient and persistent. With time and effort, you can help your child develop a lifelong love of physical activity. Our ABA experts work on consistent incremental improvements every day. Sign up for our Parent Training workshops to learn more about how to support your child’s ABA Therapy journey.
Considerations for Children with Autism
While getting the whole family moving, here are some additional tips for promoting an active and healthy lifestyle for children with autism:
- Make sure your child has access to safe and accessible places to be active. This could include parks, playgrounds, or community centers.
- Talk to your child’s doctor about any health concerns that may impact their ability to participate in physical activity.
- Be aware of the signs of overexertion and take breaks as needed. Many children with autism struggle with self-limiting and communicating their needs. Check with your children often to see how they’re feeling.
- Make sure your child is dressed appropriately for the activity. This could include wearing comfortable clothing and shoes that provide good support.
- Use positive reinforcement to encourage your child to be active. This could involve giving them praise, stickers, or other rewards.
Promoting an active and healthy lifestyle for children with autism can be challenging, but it is important for their overall well-being. By following these tips, you can help your child develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. For more information about how Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting can help your child, contact us online or call 203-900-4720 to learn more about how we serve Shelton and Fairfield County.