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Efficacy of 6-Month Adapted Aerobic Program on Motor Proficiency, BMI and Cognitive Abilities of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Three Case Reports

Georgia Strofylla, Sofia Charitou, Katerina Asonitou, Dimitra Koutsouki

Abstract: Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) face particular difficulties that impact their opportunities to participate in regular physical activities. According to the recent literature, exercise seems to have numerous benefits for students with ASD such as improvements in fundamental motor skills, balance and in physical fitness generally. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of 6-months adapted aerobic program on motor performance, Body Mass Index (BMI) and cognitive abilities in three adolescent boys with ASD. The study included two phases: baseline and post test. Motor performance of participants with ASD was evaluated with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-Second Edition and cognitive abilities were assessed with the Cognitive Assessment System. Participants were administered also anthropometric measures (weight, height, waist circumference). Results indicated that participation in the aerobic program can improve participants’ motor proficiency, body composition and cognitive abilities. Developing exercise intervention programs to improve motor proficiency, physical fitness and cognitive abilities of children and youth with ASD should be a priority by the community in order to increase their overall health-related physical fitness.
Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder / Motor Proficiency / Body Mass Index (BMI) / Waist Circumference / Cognitive Abilities / Adapted Aerobic Program

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