Movement helps children with autism become more aware of their surroundings. Exercise and activities that incorporate socialization help a child learn how to interact with others.
“Exercise creates great social awareness as a child watches and copies their peers, which continues into their daily habits and conversations,” says Turner, who is herself the parent of an autistic child. “Plus, children have lower levels of depression and hyperactivity with regular routines and exercise.”
You don’t have to look far to find ways to get your child out there having fun, staying healthy and interacting with other kids their age. Turner recommends many different programs in the Valley, from church groups to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, to Special Olympics.
Your local parks and recreation department may have a wide variety of sports and programs from tots to adults that are involved with your states’ disabilities program. These programs are usually discounted or very affordable for those on a tight budget.
Christ’s Church of the Valley offers a program called CCV Stars. While the organization offers typical soccer, flag football, basketball and cheer programs, there is also an Adaptive Sports program for children with developmental disabilities. From soccer to sports camps, children learn the importance of teamwork, skill building and the rules of some popular sports.
Just because your child has autism, doesn’t mean that he/she is limited to just special or therapy-based activities. Even kids who find socialization difficult can benefit from sports and fitness programs that can adapt to their learning differences, according to Michelle M. Turner, a Valley movement specialist and educator.
Michelle Turner is a certified Movement Specialist & Educator. Michelle works out of her clinic Movement Lesson LLC in Peoria, AZ. In this video, Michelle explains what the two forms of Autism are.