The physical activity patterns of children with autism

BMC Res Notes. 2011 Oct 18;4:422. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-4-422.


Background: Although motor deficits are gaining attention in autism research much less attention has been paid to the physical activity patterns in this group of children. The participants in this study were a group of children with autism spectrum disorder (N = 72) between the ages of 9-18 years. This cross-sectional study explored the physical activity patterns of seventy-two children with autism spectrum disorder as they aged.

Findings: Results indicated significant differences between the mean time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity and the mean time spent in sedentary activity. Older children with autism spectrum disorder are significantly more physically inactive, compared to younger children.

Conclusions: Physical activity programs and interventions need to address this deficit, in physical activity. Children with autism have a similar trend in physical activity patterns compared to their peers without autism; associated benefits and future research will be discussed.