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Exercise and Autism Symptoms: A Case Study
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by Brenna T. Burns, Ruth L. Ault, Davidson College -
Category: Physiological | Abnormal
The current study employed a single-subject design to examine the effects of exercise on core autism symptoms in a 12-year-old boy. We recorded the frequencies of selfstimulation, eye contact, verbal initiation, negative mood, and positive mood before and after a 5- to 8-min mildly strenuous running intervention twice a week. In replication of previous autism research, the results revealed a signifi cant postexercise reduction in self-stimulation across all 18 days of data collection. The intervention failed to produce signifi cant improvements in the other 4 behaviors. A brief period of physical activity appears to be an inexpensive and easy method to decrease self-stimulation. Future autism research should further investigate the differential effects of various exercise durations on core autism symptoms.