The Benefits of Gymnastics in Children with Autism

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Autism affects a person throughout their entire life. Autism is a disability that is usually detected and diagnosed within the first three years of life. Children with Autism have social interaction and communication problems (Yilmaz, Konukman, Birkan, & Yarardag 2010 become fixated on particular objects and show signs of obsessive compulsive disorder. They seem to function best when they have a daily routine to follow (Yanardag, Yilmaz, & Aras 2010). If something goes out of the ordinary for any reason, it is likely the child will have a ‘breakdown’. Children with Autism have difficulty making eye contact with others and knowing how to communicate with peers. Children with autism have several ‘stereotype’ motor behaviors, such as, jumping, swinging their body from back to front, motioning their head in a circular pattern, and playing with their fingers. These particular behaviors can lead to learning and communication issues for children with Autism. It is, however, possible to decrease the previously listed behaviors by teaching the children with autism games and almost any form of physical activity (Yilmaz, Konukman, Birkan, & Yarardag 2010). The purpose of this study is to determine the potential benefits of gymnastics in children with autism. Chien-Yu Pan did a study on the amount of time a student with and without autism spent having physical activity during physical education (PE) class and during recess. Pan found that children with autism spent about the same amount of time being physically active in PE class as children without the disorder. He also found that during recess children with autism were less physically active than children without (Pan 2008). Pan’s results during recess could be because children with autism do not know how to effectively interact and communicate with their peers. A lot of the time children with autism get frustrated very easily if they are not able to get something physical or understand what is being asked of...
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