Physical Activities Suitable for Children with Autism

Children with Autism often experience sensory processing issues that make it difficult for them to cope with the presence or absence of certain sensory inputs. This can interfere with their schedule and make it harder for them to perform at school or home as expected. In this regard, heavy work activity forms an important component of the best Autism treatment in Bangalore to address sensory issues. Read on to know more about heavy work activities and why they must be a part of your child’s routine. 

Understanding Autism
Autism or Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that affect social, behavioral, and communicative abilities. The condition has no cure, and typically manifests when the child is between one and three years of age. Children with Autism often have trouble regulating their senses and controlling their emotions when confronted with uncomfortable situations. The best Autism treatment in Bangalore can help them gain the tools they need to self-regulate and participate effectively in social situations. 

Benefits of heavy work activities for your child with Autism
Heavy work activities include anything that involves pushing or pulling against the body. It could involve activities like swimming or running, where resistance is against the flow of water or air, or movements like swinging and hanging, on playground equipment like monkey bars. The aim of heavy work activities is to activate and engage as many muscle groups as possible.

Heavy work activities are an important part of dealing with sensory processing issues. In particular, children who seek what is known as proprioceptive input, may need those activities to calm them. In the absence of structured heavy work activities, the child may seek that input in dangerous ways, such as jumping off ledges or crashing into things.

Your child’s occupational therapist will incorporate various safe, heavy work activities to assist your child with senses that they may be seeking or avoiding. Regularly engaging in these activities helps increase your child’s body awareness, or proprioception, by helping them assess exactly how much physical effort they need to complete tasks like shutting a door or writing with a pencil. This input helps the child know their spatial orientation, i.e. where their body is in space and what it should be doing, which is known as heavy work.

The best heavy work activities to do at home
There are several simple ways in which you can incorporate heavy work activity into your child’s home routine. Essentially, they have to involve movement and resistance so as to engage the child’s muscles. Most of them are daily chores and ordinary play activities, although you can choose to enrol your child in structured sports too. These activities are ideal if your child is overstimulated in a new environment or is upset for some reason.

Your occupational therapist will help you identify which senses your child needs help self-regulating, and corresponding activities to provide the best sensory input. Examples include:

  • Taking out the trash
  • Pushing the shopping cart at the supermarket
  • Playing with modelling clay
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Riding a tricycle or bicycle
  • Rearranging books on shelves
  • Mopping the floor
  • Swinging on monkey bars
  • Playing catch with a ball
  • Jumping on a trampoline
  • Marching or running in place
  • Shoveling snow or raking leaves
  • Calisthenics routines like jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, and so on (particularly for older children)
  • Stretching resistance bands

Be sure to monitor your child through all these activities so that they stay safe and do not hurt themselves. Try and decide on a set of activities that your child can perform at any time, ​​so that you can be prepared in advance if they experience a sensory overload in a public place. You should also observe whether your child is getting overstimulated by any of these activities, which could mean that they need a modification in routine.

Dealing with sensory processing issues can be challenging for your child, but heavy work activities can provide them with the sensory input they need to calm them down. The best part is that most heavy work activities are daily tasks and games that your child can start with right away. Work with a therapist to determine which activities are most suited for your child and can help them have a calmer, happier day.