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Supporting physical development in early childhood
Supporting physical development in early childhood

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5.1 Autism and ADHD

Autistic children can benefit from physical activity because it can improve mood, coping skills and overall quality of life. However, it is often perceived that there are barriers to people taking part in physical activity. It is helpful for those leading on physical activities to consider how games and activities might be made more accessible to austistic children. For example, allowing for extra time for instructions to be processed may help an autistic child understand what their role is, and may help greater participation.

The National Autistic Society (Webster, 2016) has published guidance aimed at providing practical strategies to increase awareness and participation in physical activity for autistic children, please see the link to this guidance in the further resources section at the end of this week.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also benefit from exercise. The NHS guidance offers the following guidance to parents of children with ADHD:

‘Make sure your child gets lots of physical activity during the day. Walking, skipping and playing sport can help your child wear themselves out and improve their quality of sleep’.

(NHS, 2021)