It’s no secret that physical activity can help kids with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) acquire new motor skills, improve coordination, develop muscle strength, promote stable posture, and increase stamina.
However, group sports can be overwhelming to kids with social and cognitive delays, commonly associated with ASD.
For many kids, using trampoline therapy for autism-friendly exercise may be the perfect solution for delivering the benefits of physical activity in a fun way that circumvents the pressures of group sports.
Electronics and other habit-forming, passive activities can be addictive to kids on the autism spectrum, leading to isolation, poor muscle tone, and weight issues. Getting autistic kids moving is the best way to counteract this.
Additionally, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, young people on the autism spectrum are more likely to have difficulty acquiring motor skills, motor coordination and have problems with posture.
Trampoline use, also called rebound therapy, can help by delivering positive changes in muscle tone and burning calories to stave off weight gain. Trampoline therapy can also improve posture, balance, coordination and head control.
Because trampoline activity is an individual activity performed in a group setting, bouncing on a trampoline allows for parallel play, often preferred by kids with autism.
Parallel play (where kids are adjacent to each other but do not try to influence one another’s behavior) allows kids and adults with autism to participate in physical activity alongside others, without the stress of competition, free of complicated rules, all the while avoiding direct contact with other individuals.
Providing your child with trampoline therapy for autism-friendly aerobic activity gives them a way to exercise and work off their energy in a non-threatening manner where they can move at their own pace.
In addition to building muscle tone and coordination, trampoline therapy can help reduce stereotypic behaviors in kids with autism and enhance attentive abilities.
According to an article in the National Library of Medicine, trampolines can also provide enhancement of educational and attentive skills through sensory organization and centering.
The repetition of physical movements is well-known as a coping mechanism for kids with autism. Some common repetitive behaviors, like hand flapping, head banging, and finger snapping, are necessary for autistic kids to stimulate themselves to remain calm. These stereotypical calming behaviors are often ridiculed in public.
The repetitive motion of a trampoline can provide the self-stimulatory sensation needed and act as a substitute for other forms of repetitive movements and behaviors. Trampoline therapy is more like play, allows for integrated fun without the stigma of “stimming,” and, at Launch, provides entertainment and exercise in a public environment where people with autism can feel included and are free to be themselves.
We want every child to be themselves! In fact, we created exclusive VIP nights that cater to those with sensory issues, autism, and other special needs.
As you may know, children (and adults) on the autism spectrum often lack in body and safety awareness. Trampoline therapy can help children develop body awareness through the repetitive stimulation of bouncing, and teaching muscles to control the direction of the bounce, finding the center of their bodies and, “steering” it, prompting righting reflexes.
Different rocking, running in place, and bouncing exercises, which are part of rebounding therapy, deliver a repeated opportunity to adapt to shifts in the body’s center of mass and the support beneath. In an attempt to maintain balance, one responds by reorienting, which forces increased body awareness through a focus on staying upright and safe.
Children with autism can use trampoline activities like this to gain a better understanding of body mass, and proximity to others as well as objects. It is also a keen way to teach young people, with or without autism, about the laws of motion, including gravity, force, velocity, buoyancy, and mass.
Launch provides the perfect opportunity to try trampolines as therapy for autism in a sensory-friendly environment. Limiting strobes and audio volume is only part of the story. A trained and friendly staff, paired with an exclusive VIP program that focuses on special needs clientele, helps ensure a time and space for the proper exploration of trampoline therapy and enjoyment.
Do you know someone with autism who may benefit from a few hours of trampoline therapy? Give them a gift certificate to your nearest Launch Trampoline Park!