Physical activity and adolescent girls with ASD: effects of an individualized exercise program on cognitive, social and physical-health indicators Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Fox, Leslie C.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Physical activity, specifically aerobic exercise, has been associated with improved cognitive performance in both children and adults. Due to challenges with attention, motivation, and organization, adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may require unique supports and specific learning strategies in order to engage in recommended aerobic exercise practices and receive the associated health and cognitive benefits. Three adolescent girls with ASD participated in a 6-week individualized exercise program as part of a multiple-baseline single-case design study to explore (a) the effects of an individualized exercise plan on the duration of physical activity and amount of time participants engage in moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise, (b) the performance of participants on two executive function tasks -- visual processing speed and verbal working memory -- prior to and after moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity, and (c) the strategies and supports necessary to facilitate and sustain safe and consistent aerobic activity for adolescents with ASD. The results indicate that visual supports and individualized work systems paired with the systematic monitoring of heart rate are effective tools to introduce and sustain moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity. Participants reported increased interest in exercise and ability to carry out a customized exercise plan with minimal to no adult assistance.
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  • In Copyright
  • Odom, Samuel L.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2014

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