Parenting

Healthy Weight Management for Children with Autism

Pursue the child's interest

Pursue the child's interest

Getting plenty of exercise is key to maintaining overall health. Not only does exercise help the body regulate the intake of nutrition, but it also promotes a healthy physical growth trajectory. It’s important to first remember that the type of exercise doesn’t matter. As long as the child is getting at least 60 minutes of aerobic exercise each day that is causing him or her to burn calories and grow physically, then it can come from any source. It can even be broken into smaller chunks of time, say three periods of 20 minutes, if a child has trouble paying attention.

When trying to help a child with autism meet the goal of 60 minutes of exercise each day, take into account the child’s specific interests. Maybe the child struggles with social skills so a group sport like soccer won’t be ideal, but maybe the child really does enjoy kicking the soccer ball. Rather than forcing the child to adapt to a full-blown group sport, try isolating the activity and allowing the child to pursue it on his or her own. For example, a child who enjoys playing with a soccer ball but not the sport could practice dribbling and shooting on his or her own. This could be done on a big field at a park or even in your own backyard. The key here is to look for things that interest the child and then to build an activity around that.