I believe exercise is one of the most important early interventions for autism. In so many cases I see people with autism who barely walk ten feet and have no muscle tone, yet no one works on fitness with them. In a mind/body communication disconnect, early exercise programs can help forge a better communication network between body and brain. I’m sure the kid gym classes I took as a toddler and a young boy helped me be more coordinated, though I wish I had had more intensive help in several areas I will discuss. If I had received that support when I was younger I would have an easier time now in fitness.
In no particular order I recommend early intervention in:
2. coordination–especially bilateral movements
3. cardio work, such as hiking and running
4. strength training.
My biggest motor obstacle today is that I have tight muscles and tendons. It is a problem affecting my physical comfort and will take a lot of time and effort to improve. I feel that it should have been noticed by adaptive PE teachers, or occupational therapists, or other professionals working with me physically, but they never said a word. Physical assessments looking at the areas I mentioned should be standard because catching problems early makes them easier to fix.
Since professionals may miss things, parents should be vigilant and try to work on stretching, cardio, strength and coordination with their kids starting when they are young and making it part of their lifestyle. Going for brisk walks, doing simple stretches, picking up light weights, or touching alternate toes, are all things young children can do daily and can help make movement and exercise comfortable and can help the body learn to listen better to the brain.