Updated: May 27, 2020
Why is there so much stigma around using exercise in interventions for autism?
Autism & Exercise
You may already know that exercise is good for the body but how can it be used for treatment for my child on the spectrum? Some thoughts that may be going through your mind is my child plays every day in the playground and gets plenty of exercise, why should I pay someone to help my child exercise. You may also be thinking are there even individuals other than personal trainers that specialize in exercise. The answer is yes your child is getting exercise every day and is benefiting from it, just like your child may play in the pool daily. Does this mean because your child plays in the pool daily, it means he is a good swimmer? Why do I have to pay for a swim instructor to teach my child swimming when he is in the pool every day. Well we all know that children need an experienced instructor to teach them to swim properly, this is the same for exercise!
There is an exercise therapist and their official title is a clinical exercise physiologist who typically holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology (sometimes a PHD) and works in hospitals. Their main focus is to provide exercise as therapy for individuals that have illnesses/conditions and disease. Yes you heard it correct, a PHD in exercise science. So they have the same grade qualifications as a physical therapist and occupational therapist? Why are they not used or recognized among autism organizations?
The truth is these practitioners are very popular among the therapy world when working with conditions such as pulmonary issues, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, HIV and the list goes on. But for some mysterious reason there is a lot of resistance from government agencies and private autism agencies that do not view exercise as beneficial or can be used as therapy for interventions. My self has had many meetings with higher-up individuals that run these programs and there answer is there's no way we can associate the word exercise and therapy together, people will not take this well. Why the resistance? Why the hate? What about the practitioner that invested $50,000 in obtaining their Master's Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology, What about large organizations such as the American college of sports medicine that praise exercise as therapy, yes you heard it correct, Organizations that have sports medicine doctors say exercise is beneficial and can be used for therapy for autism. What about hospitals that hire these professionals to work with various diseases? Is this a matter of uneducated directors running large organizations that use their own personal motive, oppose to looking at the science?