For children with autism, plan more time for physical exercise.

For children with autism, plan more time for physical exercise.

Some parents of children with autism appear to prioritize academic and cognitive development over physical motor development.  As the child ages, most parents who come to treatment centers allocate time to interventions that support academic rather than physical development. However, this may not be the best choice. Cognitive development is based on the integrated motor development of the body, and harmony and balance are crucial. We believe that stable somatosensory-motor development should take precedence over academic cognitive development.

One leading theory supporting this view is Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Piaget argued that a child’s cognitive development is closely linked to their physical behavior and interaction with the environment. He believed that children learn about the world, interact with their surroundings, and develop basic patterns of thought through sensory and motor activities and that early sensory-motor experiences lay the foundation for later cognitive abilities, including language acquisition, symbolic thinking, problem-solving, and abstract reasoning.

Stable sensory-motor development provides the foundation upon which higher-level cognitive processes are built. Furthermore, recent neuroscience research has shown connections between the brain’s motor, sensory system, and cognitive processes. Rich sensory-motor experiences are an important foundation for promoting healthy brain development and cognitive function.

If you are concerned about your child’s slow development, you should provide them with active environments where they can actively move, explore, and feel their bodies rather than sedentary learning environments.  Sports that involve a lot of physical activity are the most basic of the basics. 

Sports activities provide a foundation for stable cognitive development because they help improve body awareness and control, as well as motor planning and sequencing, in children with autism. The benefits may vary slightly depending on the type of sport, but there is no doubt that either type of sport can have a significant impact on a child’s development.

Whatever the sport, it’s best to plan to make it a daily or regular part of your child’s routine, and it’s even better if you can participate in the activity together.

Consider planning which sports your child might enjoy and can engage in for a lifetime. This will positively impact their development more than any cognitive lessons or worksheets.

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