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How Can Purposeful Movement Help With Autism?

Purposeful movement, such as physical therapy or exercise, can help individuals with autism improve their motor skills, coordination, and overall physical fitness. In addition, it can also help to reduce anxiety and improve social interactions. However, it is important to note that each individual with autism is unique and may respond differently to different forms of therapy and movement. It is recommended to consult with a professional to develop an appropriate therapy or movement plan.

How can purposeful movement help with learning in school?

Research suggests that purposeful movement, such as freeze dance or exercise, can have a positive impact on learning in individuals with autism. Improved motor skills and coordination can help with fine motor tasks such as writing and cutting, while increased physical fitness can lead to improved attention, engagement and focus. In addition, reducing anxiety and improving social interactions through movement can also help to create a more positive learning environment.

How does purposeful movement help with attention and focus?

Purposeful movement in a school setting, can help with attention and focus in individuals with autism by increasing blood flow to the brain and releasing chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine. These chemicals can have a positive impact on mood and can help to improve focus and attention. Additionally, regular physical activity can also help to improve sleep patterns which can lead to better cognitive function during the day. Movement activities that are tailored to the interests and abilities of an individual can also help to hold their attention and focus on a task for longer periods of time.

How does purposeful movement help with cognition?

Purposeful movement can help with cognition in individuals with autism in several ways. Regular physical activity can increase blood flow to the brain, which can lead to the growth of new brain cells and improved overall brain function. In addition, physical activity can also improve the function of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain that are responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells. This can lead to improved memory, attention and focus.

Moreover, physical activity can also help with executive function, which refers to a set of cognitive skills that allow us to plan, organize, and complete tasks. These skills are important for learning, problem-solving and decision-making.

Physical activity can also lead to a decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression, which can have a positive impact on cognitive functioning and overall well-being. It's important to note that the benefits of physical activity on cognition may vary depending on the type and intensity of the activity, as well as the individual's preferences and abilities.

Overall, what are some general ways to incorporate movement into daily lessons to help a learner with Autism?

Incorporate movement breaks

I would schedule regular movement breaks throughout the day to allow the student with autism to release energy and refocus their attention on the task at hand. These breaks could include activities such as stretching, jumping jacks, or simple gross motor activities.

Use movement to teach new concepts

I would incorporate movement-based activities to teach new concepts. For example, using hand motions to help the student remember math facts or using a “body map” to teach the parts of a plant.

Make use of gross motor activities

I would also make use of gross motor activities to help the student with autism to learn. For example, I would use games such as Simon Says, which require the student to follow verbal instructions and move their body accordingly, to teach following directions.

Incorporate movement into daily routine

I would work movement into the student's daily routine by using movement as a way to transition between activities. For example, using a simple kids freeze dance video or exercise to signal the transition to a new subject or activity.

Use visual cues and supports

Finally, I would use visual cues and supports to help the student with autism understand and follow the movement-based activities. For example, using visual timers to indicate when a movement break is coming or providing a visual schedule to show the student what activities will involve movement.

Overall, my goal would be to make movement an integral part of the learning experience, helping the student with autism to understand and retain new information, while also supporting their overall development and engagement in learning.

What is the best way to engage your students?

Just add purposeful movement! ​ Kids Freeze Dance™ is a streaming service for teachers and parents that features content themed educational videos mixed with purposeful movement! Each video features Jay on the Drums and emphasizes different content spanning Kindergarten through Third Grade while focusing on Math and Literacy concepts.

Consider using to add movement to your daily lessons.


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