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Effectiveness of Exercise-Based Interventions for Children with Autism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Ka-Lam Sam 1, Bik-Chu Chow 2, and Kwok-Keung Tong 2
1. Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China
2. Department of Physical Education, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China
Abstract—Autism is a spectrum of closely-related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Children on the autism spectrum have problems to some degree with social interaction, communication, and motor coordination. An exclusive exercise program is considered an emerging practice for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) . A meta-analysis was undertaken to evaluate theeffectiveness of exercise interventions on exercise mastery, physical fitness, and social competence for children with ASD. Eight studies were employed by a systematic review, then followed by the meta-analysis. Findings indicated that the exercise interventions had a positive effect on developing skills of exercise mastery (d=.57) and social competence (d=.58). Further studies are needed to demonstrate whether early exercise intervention can moderate the sensory processing problems (i.e., poor coordination, under-respond to stimulation) and help regulating emotions of children with ASD.

Index Terms—exercise-based intervention, children with autism, systematic review, meta-analysis

Cite: Ka-Lam Sam, Bik-Chu Chow, and Kwok-Keung Tong, "Effectiveness of Exercise-Based Interventions for Children with Autism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 98-103, December 2015. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.1.2.98-103

 
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