About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Young Adults with Autism Exercise More with Motivation

by Preethi Sivaswaamy Mohana on March 23, 2018 at 12:29 PM
Font : A-A+

Young Adults with Autism Exercise More with Motivation

Young adults with autism can exercise more with simple statements of praise, says a team of researchers from the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG). Even pre-recorded messages through iPhones and iPods is found to motivate people with autism to produce more exercise. The findings of the study are published in the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities .

"As people with autism age, they tend to exercise less and less than their peers without autism," said FPG's Melissa N. Savage, who headed the study. "Previous studies have shown that individuals with autism are at special risk for health challenges like obesity, as well as for secondary conditions like depression and diabetes."

Advertisement


Savage said that in addition to health benefits that regular physical activity carries for everyone, it also can be especially powerful for people with autism.

"Prior research has demonstrated that regular moderate-to-vigorous exercise for people with autism can increase their academic engagement in the classroom," she explained. "They tend to spend more time on task and display fewer challenging behaviors."
Advertisement

Due to the benefits of regular physical activity for people with autism, Savage wanted to explore how to increase their engagement in a regular exercise routine through positive reinforcement, a well-established practice for use with people with autism. FPG's autism team had recognized the value of positive reinforcement in a seminal 2014 report on evidence-based practices and subsequently developed groundbreaking training on it with its globally popular AFIRM online instruction.

Savage's study was different from prior research on reinforcement, though, for two main reasons. First, she focused on the impact of praise in and of itself, rather than pairing it with other reinforcement. Second, she examined the impact of how that praise was delivered--either in person or by technology.

"With technology use in physical activity becoming more commonplace, it was important to determine its advantages or disadvantages to provide needed support," Savage said. "We wanted to know under which condition participants would engage in more aerobic activity and which condition they preferred."

For this small single-subject design study, she implemented an exercise program for three young adults with autism, ages 20-22, and followed their daily progress through multiple sessions under different conditions.

While participants were running laps around cones, they heard the same voice either in-person or through headphones on a fixed schedule, delivering various praise statements, such as "Good job running around the cones!" or "You are doing a great job running Mason!" These praise statements incorporated the target behavior (running), which the autism team's AFIRM online instruction highlights as an important feature of effective reinforcement.

"We found that introducing praise statements corresponded with more physical activity for all participants," Savage said. "The number of laps increased for all of them, regardless of whether they received praise in person or through technology."

According to Savage, though, the impact of praise on exercise may not have been the most important finding.

"When it comes to motivating young adults with autism to exercise, part of the solution may lie in making use of technology," she said. "Participants who excelled when hearing praise statements through technology also maintained their performances even when we thinned out the praise statements and generalized the exercise to a new setting."

Savage also said that using technology has several additional advantages. Especially among young adults, cell phones and iPods are popular and carry no stigma. Using them for support may also help people with autism feel more independent.

Relying on technology to deliver praise statements or provide other support also saves time.

"In-person praise required much more attention to the participant during intervention, and it was harder to be consistent with the time-based schedule," she said. "Using the mobile devices required about 5 minutes to record and upload the praise statements, but there wasn't any additional work needed once that was done."

With funding from the Organization of Autism Research, Savage has begun the new "Step It Up" study at FPG to evaluate the effectiveness of a self-managed exercise program in which adults with autism and an intellectual disability will use Fitbits.

"As technologies become more available in schools and homes, we have to keep abreast of the advantages they can have for people with autism," she said.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Cochlear Implants may Consequently Drive Hearing Loss
E-cigarettes Use Linked to Erectile Dysfunction
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Autism Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Tips to Live Longer Exercise and Fitness Lifestyle Modification: No Big Deal! Body Types and Befitting Workouts Exercise To Gain Weight Top Health Tips to Overcome Tiredness Fitness Through Density Training Program Exercises to Grow Taller 

Recommended Reading
Autism
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder typically characterized by impaired social and ......
Cancer Drug Reduces Anti-social Behavior in Autism
Romidepsin, a Food and Drug Administration-approved anti-cancer drug, restores social deficits in .....
Could Embryonic Brain Disruption Lead to Autism?
Embryonic brain development can be affected if the progenitor cells in the cortex are disrupted, as ...
Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy may Increase Autism Risk in Offspring
Maternal vitamin D deficiency may increase autism risk in children later in life, finds new study. ....
Body Types and Befitting Workouts
Workout and diet which is well suited for a pear shaped body....
Exercise and Fitness
Exercise is about revamping your lifestyle, not just weight loss. Exercise to get healthy – that way...
Exercise To Gain Weight
Are you underweight and want to know how to gain weight? Exercise or workouts can help you gain weig...
Exercises to Grow Taller
An article that highlights on the list of exercises that aids to grow taller....
Fitness through Density Training Program
Density Training is an effective weight training workout which helps to quickly build muscle and los...
Lifestyle Modification: No Big Deal!
Simple and practically possible lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in improving our health...
Tips to Live Longer
Though life is temporary and short, it is possible to maximize the span of our existence by living h...
Top Health Tips to Overcome Tiredness
If you follow a healthy lifestyle and still feel tired, you should rule out all possible medical cau...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use