Creighton Study Shows Possible Benefits of Gymnastics for Children with Autism

During my Experiential Component of my Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, I researched possible benefits of gymnastics for children with special needs and different learning abilities. This correlation had intrigued me since before I knew what Occupational Therapy was. I had seen increased social skills, confidence, strength, and coordination firsthand when providing consistent, continued gymnastics instruction with children with Autism and Down Syndrome. 

When performing research to develop my own recreational gymnastics program for children with special needs, I found that few opportunities existed for children among this population to participate in recreational sports. I knew immediately that this program needed to come to fruition. 

For this study at Creighton University, an Occupational Therapy professor and OT students partnered with a local gymnastics club to develop a recreational class specifically for children wtih autism.  Preliminary qualitative findings indicated that “recreational gymnastics may have positive implications on social skills,” as well as led to a more positive development of leisure interests for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder according to Occupational Therapist, Bobbi Greiner. 

Here is a link to the study to read more!