Physical Activity (PA) has well-researched positive outcomes for young people’s wellbeing, including specific benefits for young people with ASD.
The positive impact on learning for students with ASD
Despite these benefits, children, young people and adults with ASD perform significantly less PA than their typically developing peers, due to numerous documented barriers to their participation in traditional sports and other forms of PA.
The research on these barriers often highlights the need for PA programs that are flexible and adjustable as necessary, for instructors to have an in depth understanding of the sensory and communication needs of children with ASD, and for the PA to be suitable and appropriate for participants with ASD’s gross motor skill, attention, behavioural, social and communication deficits and abilities. Outdoor Education and engaging with physical activity in natural environments provides a means for students with ASD to access PA, as well as the additional gains and outcomes that the literature has found Outdoor Education can provide.
When investigating the literature I identified a key need for further research into the effects of Outdoor Education on the emotional regulation of students with ASD.