Warning: Superhero’s Incoming

By Sarah Mengel l Accredited Exercise Physiologist
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What is your first thought when you hear the word Autism?

For some, it can be label (good or bad), for some a way of life and other’s, a life sentence. When we think of the word Autism, we think of superhero’s.

Autism is a complicated condition that makes it hard for an individual to process and comprehend the world around them. These superheroes tend to struggle with:

  1. Social interactions: interpreting not only the spoken word but all the little nuances that accompany many social interactions. They can be perceived as rude or accused of not having manners. When in actual fact, their awesome brains are struggling to find the appropriate response.
  2. Speech: sometimes these superheroes are unable to create the appropriate response to a question. They can even struggle to learn how to formulate the necessary sounds for speech. We will often see a delayed response to questions/statements directed to them. Why? The reasons above definitely contribute but sometimes their superhero brains can be so overloaded from the world around them, they can sometimes take a second or two to process what is happening.
  3. Movement: a common thing we see with Autistic children is that they can struggle to perform gross and/or fine motor patterns. They can have some issues with balance, co-ordination and/or crossing the mid-line. They tend to struggle to remember correct patterns of muscle movement and requires lots of repetition to help.
Amy and one of the kids in our Kids Holiday Program

So why the superhero theme? Well, because these superheroes generally have a lot going on, they can require multiple therapy sessions a week. Generally speaking, there can be three ore more Allied Health Practitioners that all work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for their goals.

So who could these superheroes see?

  • Exercise Physiologists
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Psychologists
  • Dieticians
  • Podiatrists
  • Speech Pathologists

The biggest question we get asked is: What benefits does exercise have for Autism?

The answer:

  • Improved regulation
  • Improved gross and fine motor control
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Improved behaviour
  • Improved levels for concentration; and
  • Allows the superheroes to stay task oriented for longer