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Encourage Exercise for Children with Pervasive Development Disorders

November 05, 2015


Pervasive development disorders (PDD), refers to a group of five conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, conditions include:

  • Autism
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder
  • Rett’s syndrome
  • Pervasive development disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)

If your child has been diagnosed with a PDD, you may notice that in addition to difficulties socializing and using their imagination, he or she may have balance problems, poor gross motor function and lack confidence in abilities. These social and physical difficulties may lead to an inactive lifestyle and further disruption of psychosocial and physical development.

The connection between exercise and positive results in children with PDD have been well documented. Among the benefits of regular exercise are:

  • Increased attention span
  • Greater self confidence
  • Weight management
  • Improved socialization
  • Reduction of inappropriate behaviors
  • Improved motor function
  • Increased fitness
  • Reduced anxiety

It can be easy to keep your child active, and chances are, it will be fun quality time spent together. Encourage your child to exercise with these tips:

  • Consider your child’s preferences so that the experience is enjoyable
  • Decide whether team or individual sports are best for your child
  • Try activities that also can help improve areas of difficulty
  • Lead by example and join your child
  • Encourage your child to stretch their capabilities and exert themselves
  • Use video game programs, such as Wii Fit, which incorporate exercise and gaming
  • When your child plays with others, encourage games that get all of the kids moving

Exercise also can be a great way to supplement learning, engage your child’s senses and explore new physical skills. Talk with your child’s physical and occupational therapists to get ideas on how to add exercise into your family’s daily routine.

To learn about therapy for pervasive development disorders, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422).