Navigating access: Modifying the environment to leverage the strengths of autistic youth

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Takeaway: The environment is often inaccessible for autistic individuals to participate in physical activity. As practitioners and support providers, we must shift how we view the barriers to access for autistic people. In adapting the environment, as opposed to "fixing" the individual, we are able make opportunities more accessible and experiences more successful.

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Cite as: Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2021, March 12). Navigating access: Modifying the environment to leverage the strengths of autistic youth. Oral presentation for the Binghamton Regional Center for Autism Spectrum annual conference, Binghamton, NY [Remote].

Abstract

Physical activity is a key modifiable factor in the pursuit of positive health comes for all individuals as they age. Unfortunately, autistic individuals have been shown to engage in less physical activity and are more likely to have poorer health outcomes compared to non-autistic peers. For many autistic individuals, their lower engagement in physical activity is not due to a lack of motivation or a limited understanding of it's importance, but is a result of issues related to access. In this presentation, we will explore the barriers for access to physical activity for many autistic individuals, then examine practical, evidenced strategies that leverage individual strengths to provide successful opportunities.

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