Prepositions and Autism Fitness Part II
In part I of this article I addressed the difficulty that individuals with autism and related disorders tend to have with prepositions. This could be a result of deficits in cognitive processing and/or auditory delays. On the happier and more productive side, we can improve both socialization and fluency in prepositions through fitness activities. Because we do not always see completely linear development in movement or cognitive skills, the examples that I provide in this article are just that; examples. Developing fitness and social skill or cognitive targets is individual-specific, though there are some basic concepts that can serve as guidelines.
Moving on, here are some more moderate and advanced options for increasing socialization and recognition of prepositions during movement activities:
Activity: Sandbell Cone Touch. Athlete holds a 4 or 6lb. Sandbell with both hands, raises the Sandbell overhead, and touches a low cone placed to his/her left or right.
Target Fitness Skills: Overhead raise, trunk rotation
Target Preposition: Discriminating between right and left
Moderate II: With Peer Partner
Activity: Tandem Rope Swing Variety; Two partners grab each end of a rope and perform different types of swings: Low, High, Circle in, Circle out, Jumping
Target Fitness Skills: Rope swings, upper body power, stability, and strength endurance
Target socialization/prepositional skills: Teamwork (physical), parallel play, differentiating big and small swings
Activity: Multi-directional Animal Locomotion. A single, pair, or small group of athletes perform Bear walks, Frog hops, and Donkey kicks forward, backward, and laterally.
Target Fitness Skills: Upper and Lower body power, stability, and strength endurance. Hip flexibility and shoulder stability.
Target socialization/prepositional skills: Discrimination between left/right, forward/backwards, spacial awareness, fun in a group setting
These are just a few examples of the virtually endless combination of movement and socialization targets for athletes with autism and special needs. In fact, these types of activities can be used in any setting for ANY athletes.