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Jumping is a complex activity. In addition to being an essential ingredient for play skills, jumping requires some complex motor planning, balance, agility, and power. Just get up off your computer chair right now and jump up. Now jump forward, back, left and right. Sit back down and continue on. You probably feel more energized, and now, sitting in front of the computer screen, a bit more focused.

Many children and young individuals with autism have difficulty performing jumping activities. It is difficult to physically prompt a jump with a bigger, older individual, and usually I model the movement for the athlete. I also prime new movement patterns by having the athlete perform some mastered exercises first (mastered being exercises and activities he/she can already perform independently without guidance). In the video below, my athlete performs a basic linear (straight forward) jumping pattern. The star markers help IMMENSELY in this situation. Notice the off-task behavior, some stereotypy (in the form of jumping up and down), A couple avoidance attempts (walking away from me), and, at the very end, some horrendous motorcycle audio that I sincerely apologize for.

Jumps for blog I May 20 09 from Eric Chessen on Vimeo.

This sequence has taken my athlete several months to master, however with the pre-requisite skills developed we can create new and fun jumping activities that incorporate other movement patterns (pushing, pulling, other bending actions, rotation, and even more locomotion). This can also be a terrific group activity for small physical fitness classes. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Live Inspired,