Effect of eight weeks of strength training on the physical conditioning tests of a child with autism: a case study
Keywords:Autism, Strength Training, Physical Performance tests
Autism is a multifactorial developmental neurobiological disorder; that compromises the areas of interaction and language. Children with ASD present a deficit in motor development and in the acquisition of motor skills when compared to their peers without ASD. Another striking aspect in this population is the presence of hypotonia and decreased muscle strength. It can be seen that the decrease in muscle strength is closely linked to decreased levels of physical conditioning, and in children with ASD, this scenario is very present. Therefore, in this study, the feasibility of strength training for a child with ASD was tested, aiming to improve muscle strength and general physical conditioning. A 4-year-old male patient with ASD volunteered, with parental consent, for an 8-week strength training intervention, where he performed a training program 3 times a week with an average duration of 40 minutes. The following tests were performed before and after the 8-week intervention: horizontal jump, vertical jump (CMJ), medicine ball throw (2 kg) and a predicted maximum repetition of the deadlift. The deadlift exercise showed a 32% increase in relation to the initial load. The other exercises also had a positive result when compared to the initial test (pre), having an addition of 16.4% for the horizontal jump, 16% for the vertical jump, and 14.7% for the medicine ball throw. A total of 8 weeks of strength training led to improvements in strength gain and fitness tests, suggesting that this type of approach may constitute a promising and practical alternative to traditional methods of intervention with children with ASD. Strength training can serve as a viable approach to improving the strength and overall fitness of a child with ASD.
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