As researchers start to close in on the causes of autism, some CrossFit gyms are testing treatment theories that suggest exercise can help.
(Corrects to clarify that some children with Asperger’s, not all, are averse to touch.)
Living with autism is about making connections.
Since the earliest diagnosis of autism in 1911, parents have searched for ways to relate to children whose symptoms often make interaction challenging. With no cure for the developmental disorder, treatment plans can include behavioral management and even institutionalization. But new brain-mapping technologies, behavioral strategies and physical therapies are closing in on the disease from different angles. And many new recommendations include exercise to help with social skills, cognition and health.
“When someone in your family is diagnosed with autism, it becomes the central thing in everyone’s lives,” said Brian Costello, owner of CrossFit Long Island. Costello coaches two groups of kids with autism every week, including his brother Danny. Both Costello brothers love the group, and the workouts might be helping Danny with more than muscular strength.
With autism diagnoses occurring at an increasing rate, more parents and researchers are now asking if exercise can improve the lives of those who live with the disorder.