Nicole Mallow’s Mkin Major Paper Presentation

Title: “Physical Activity for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder”

Supervisor: Dr. Maria Gallo (Kinesiology)
Second Reader: Dr. Anne Lasinsky (Kinesiology)

Abstract: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is the most common paediatric neurological disorder and one of the most common developmental disabilities. Typically, individuals with ASD participate in a variety of therapies such as physical, occupational, and speech. Research has shown that in this population, participation in physical activity can improve the health and lifestyle of these individuals greatly. However, the physical activity level is often lower in children with ASD compared to typically developing children. Low physical activity levels, along with nutritional patterns, medications, and hormonal abnormalities, leads to the high incidence of obesity in youth with ASD. This paper will examine the use of physical activity as a therapeutic measure for children with ASD and its beneficial effects on general health, mental health, social and behavioral functioning, stereotypic behaviors, and success in school. Current strategies to improve participation in physical activity as well as recommendations for specific exercise prescription will be provided. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the importance of physical activity among youth with ASD and to provide suggestions to increase participation, in order to improve the health and lifestyle of these children.