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NDIS - Exercise & Autism

The Use of Exercise in the Management of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder is developmental condition in the brain that affects the ability for a child to learn and interact with the world around them. Autism is a complex condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviours. The effects of autism spectrum disorders and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.

NDIS eligibility for autism spectrum disorder is based on reduced functional capacity in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Communication

  2. Mobility

  3. Social Interaction

  4. Learning

  5. Self-Care and Self-Management.

Whilst a diagnosis of autism at any level is likely to meet the access criteria, the NDIA have Lists A-E to assist them to determine eligibility.

What are the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder?

Our physiotherapy and exercise physiology NDIS providers in Penrith pride themselves on keeping up-to-date with the common signs and symptoms of individuals with autism as this provides better understanding and can improve the management, communication and expectations during face to face sessions. Common signs and symptoms of individuals with autism include:

Social & communication issues such as:

  • Knowing when and how to respond appropriately in particular social situations such as understanding jokes.

  • The ability to express and comprehend information.

  • People with autism spectrum disorder have the desire to communicate with other however they may find this difficult to do.


Repetitive behaviour and minimal interest:

  • Repetitive movements such as waving hands, clapping hands, clicking fingers and rocking back and forth.

  • Some have a particular attachment to a certain object for example some like to hold toys and at times unusual items such as strings and rubber bands.

  • Repeated phrases.

  • Hyperactivity.

  • Negative reaction such as crying and anger when their routine is different.

Risk of poor health:

  • Individuals with autism spectrum disorder are more likely to be sedentary.

  • Increased risk of sedentary diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and overweight.

What are the current standard treatments for autism spectrum disorders?

Typical treatments for autism spectrum disorder aim to challenge and encourage sensory skills (their ability to process information), language (the ability to construct words and out it into a sentence) and social behaviour. This can be acquired from various allied health professionals such as behavioural specialist, speech pathologist and exercise physiologists. Our physiotherapy and exercise physiology NDIS providers in Penrith focus on the use of exercise to enhance mood, self-esteem, improve daily function and reduce future health concerns by encouraging regular participation in exercise and physical activity.

Why is exercise important for individuals with autism spectrum disorders?

Our physiotherapy and exercise physiology NDIS providers in Penrith believe that exercise is important for individuals with autism spectrum disorder because:

  1. It improves their physical condition and this can help them do activities more frequently.

  2. People with autism spectrum disorder tend to have a sedentary lifestyle, inconsistent eating patterns and lack of exercise levels. In turn this will increase an individuals risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Regular exercise can help prevent the development of these conditions.

What are the benefits of exercise for individuals with autism spectrum disorders?

The benefits that our physiotherapy and exercise physiology NDIS providers in Penrith believe that come from exercise for those with autism spectrum disorder include:

  1. Reduces the behavioural patterns that can be seen from individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

  2. Increases sleep duration and improves quality of sleep.

  3. Improves communication skills and the ability to deliver messages.

  4. Increase engagement in academic learning.

  5. Improves ability to respond and behave in social situations.

  6. Ability to process information through their sensory skills.

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