Asperger’s Syndrome is considered a mild form of autism, according to the Autism Society. Asperger’s Syndrome is typically diagnosed in childhood, and is considered a developmental disability, one of the fastest growing in the United States. The condition affects children as they grow into adulthood, and while some individuals are highly functioning, others may require focused adult care services. Cognitive and physical exercise should be encouraged. Exercises with Asperger’s children should be engaged in a calm environment and with slow movements to prevent agitation.
Asperger’s affects children and adults in different ways, depending on the severity of the condition. The most common result of Asperger’s is social awkwardness and an ability to show empathy with others, or in some cases, manners. In regard to physical development, children diagnosed with Asperger’s may display lack of coordination and clumsy or slowed motor skill development.
Sensory integration therapy is often recommended for children diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome — such therapy helps stimulate the brain and promote sensory recognition to time and place. Such exercises that incorporate recognition and sources of sights, sounds, smells and so forth help integrate the child into society. Many children and adults with Asperger’s are extremely sensitive to sensory stimulation, which often prompts difficult and anti-social behavior and reactions. Examples of sensory integration exercise may include rocking in a chair, crawling through a tube tunnel, dancing and playing with beans, buttons or balls.
Because children and adults may have trouble with fine motor movement, skills and coordination, occupational therapy may reduce frustration to such limitations. Occupational therapy exercises may include asking the child to practice coloring or painting, or involve exercises that improve hand strength and gripping. For example, squeezing balls of different sizes may help improve coordination and hand function.
Exercising may help improve coordination, attention span and visual tracking and fine motor skills. Children with Asperger’s may prefer to exercise alone, as team or group play is often too overwhelming for them. Physical exercises such as sitting and balancing on a stability ball or bouncing on a trampoline may prove beneficial, and fun, for the child. Movements that involve turning or swinging and side-to-side movements may help improve balance and response to movement. Coordinate movement between both sides of the body with exercises and games such as bouncing balls, playing games of catch and learning a new instrument. Such activities also provide exercise, improve visual acuity, and enhance hand-eye coordination.
- Autism Society: Facts and Statistics
- Healing Thresholds: Sensory Integration Therapy for Children with Autism
- Asperger’s Association of New England: Adults with Asperger Syndrome: Is Occupational Therapy Right for You?
- Help With Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome & Related Disorders: Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Physical Exercise and Autism
About this Author
Denise Wang is an experienced freelance writer and editor. She has written professionally for seven years, and is a published fiction author. She regularly provides content for health-related and elder-care websites. She is currently completing coursework for a degree in health information management from Penn Foster College.