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      The Effects of Structured Physical Activity Program on Social Interaction and Communication for Children with Autism

      1 , 2 ,
      BioMed Research International

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          The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of structured physical activity program on social interaction and communication of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Fifty children with ASD from a special school were randomly divided into experimental and control groups. 25 children with ASD were placed in the experimental group, and the other 25 children as the control group participated in regular physical activity. A total of forty-one participants completed the study. A 12-week structured physical activity program was implemented with a total of 24 exercise sessions targeting social interaction and communication of children with ASD, and a quasi-experimental design was used for this study. Data were collected using quantitative and qualitative instruments. SSIS and ABLLS-R results showed that an overall improvement in social skills and social interaction for the experimental group across interim and posttests, F = 8.425, p = 0.001 ( p < 0.005), and significant improvements appeared in communication, cooperation, social interaction, and self-control subdomains ( p < 0.005). Conversely, no statistically significant differences were found in the control group ( p > 0.005). The study concluded that the special structured physical activity program positively influenced social interaction and communication skills of children with ASD, especially in social skills, communication, prompt response, and frequency of expression.

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          The effect of therapeutic horseback riding on social functioning in children with autism.

          This study evaluated the effects of therapeutic horseback riding on social functioning in children with autism. We hypothesized that participants in the experimental condition (n = 19), compared to those on the wait-list control (n = 15), would demonstrate significant improvement in social functioning following a 12-weeks horseback riding intervention. Autistic children exposed to therapeutic horseback riding exhibited greater sensory seeking, sensory sensitivity, social motivation, and less inattention, distractibility, and sedentary behaviors. The results provide evidence that therapeutic horseback riding may be a viable therapeutic option in treating children with autism spectrum disorders.
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            Psychosocial correlates of physical activity in healthy children.

            Understanding the determinants of physical activity in children is critical for the treatment and prevention of childhood obesity. Social-cognitive theory has been used to understand behavioral patterns in children. To explore the relationship between health beliefs, self-efficacy, social support, and sedentary activities and physical activity levels in children and to examine the relationship between physical activity and children's self-esteem. Ninety-two children aged 10 to 16 years completed the study. Physical activity was monitored for 1 week with a motion detector (Actitrac; IM Systems, Baltimore, Md). Moderate-level activity and high-level activity were defined based on the results of treadmill testing. Health beliefs, self-efficacy, social influences, and time spent in sedentary behaviors were determined through questionnaires. Self-esteem was measured using the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale. Chronic anxiety was measured with the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale. There was a significant decline in physical activity levels between ages 10 and 16 years, particularly in girls. Preteen girls spent approximately 35% more time in low- and high-level activity than did teenage girls (P<.001). Overall, children spent 75.5% of the day inactive, with a mean +/- SD of 5.2 +/- 1.8 hours watching television, sitting at the computer, and doing homework. In contrast, only 1.4% of the day (12.6 +/- 12.2 minutes) was spent in vigorous activity. Time spent in sedentary behaviors was inversely correlated with the amount of moderate-level activity (P<.001) but not high-level activity. In contrast, time spent in high-level activity correlated with self-efficacy scores (P<.001) and social influences scores (P<.005). High-level physical activity was also associated with improved self-esteem (P<.05). Higher health beliefs scores were not correlated with physical activity levels. Children and adolescents are largely sedentary. Correlates of high- and low-level physical activity are different. Time spent on sedentary activities is inversely correlated with moderate-level activity, while self-efficacy and social influences are positively correlated with more intense physical activity. In addition, increased high-level physical activity is an important component in the development of self-esteem in children.
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              A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Social Skills Interventions for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders


                Author and article information

                Biomed Res Int
                Biomed Res Int
                BioMed Research International
                15 January 2018
                : 2018
                : 1825046
                1School of Sports Media and Information Technology, Shandong Sports University, Shandong, China
                2Department of Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, Texarkana, TX, USA
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Haichun Sun

                Author information
                Copyright © 2018 Mengxian Zhao and Shihui Chen.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 26 August 2017
                : 16 November 2017
                : 29 November 2017
                Clinical Study


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