In treatment for struggling teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders, figuring out how to best engage students is one of our top priorities. Exercise can be a difficult thing to sell to teenagers in general, but individuals with ASD or ADHD find it especially challenging to become interested–unless it’s fun.

A new study has found that it becomes much easier to involve adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders if the activity is fun or playful. Being active and healthy physically is an essential part to overall health, which is why this research is so important.

Making exercise fun

Regular exercise can not only improve physical health, it can improve mental health as well. Physical and mental health are intertwined with one another. Adolescents with ASD, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental disorders can find it hard to become excited by physical exercise–many turn to things like video games to amuse them. While this may keep them happy in the moment, this lack of exercise will harm their emotional, social, and physical well-being, making it all the more important to get them engaged in some type of physical activity.

The study was conducted by the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and the goal was to figure out what deterred or motivated those with neurodevelopmental disorders the most to get active. Researchers discovered that the largest deterrent was lack of skill–simply not knowing how to play soccer or basketball or other active games. They also found that while many parents knew the benefits of exercise, they weren’t informed by their doctors of the vast importance of keeping an active routine in place. In treatment for struggling teens, it’s incredibly important for us to cover all bases with parents–including the importance of exercise.

How we can make a difference

Well, for one, doctors need to fit in a talk about the benefits and necessities of leading an active life–it’s essential for physical and mental health. Secondly, parents need to ask about exercise. While it may be easy to let your child with ASD play video games all day, it’s not good for him in the end. There are options for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders out there, you just have to get determined and find them.

In our treatment for struggling teens with neurodevelopmental disorders, we strive to include a healthy amount of physical activity in our students’ day–and we try to make it fun, too! Learning how to play soccer or basketball can be great not only physically but socially. Students have to work together in order to form a team that can win the game, which is great for developing social skills. Other physical activities like taking a crack at the climbing wall is also beneficial in multiple ways. Yes, your child gets a workout, but they also learnt that they can accomplish something they’ve never or rarely done before.

Seven Stars offers treatment for struggling teens

Seven Stars offers residential treatment for struggling teens with neurodevelopmental disorders. We combine residential treatment with adventure therapy to create a multifaceted, effective program for teens, ages 13 to 18, struggling with emotional and behavioral issues as a result of their neurodevelopmental disorder.

We embed the objectives we have for each student into daily activities and teach emotional wellness skills such as conflict resolution, problem solving, social awareness, academic skills, self-efficacy and prosocial behaviors. In our residential treatment for struggling teens, we strive to help each of our students develop the skills necessary to live full, productive lives.
For more information about residential treatment for struggling teens at Seven Stars, contact us today at 844-601-1167.

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