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Why eet is we do ze squatting

The bending/squatting motion is possibly one of the most important big movements that we do throughout the day, in daily life activities, sports, and play (I did not mean for that to rhyme). The majority of young people on the autism spectrum with whom I work have a tendency to pitch forward (see below) when they attempt a squat.

Problematic squat

Problematic squat

Does the individual with autism that you work/live with squat this way or something similar to this? The research done on many young individuals with autism suggests that there is a higher rate of gross motor deficits in the ASD population than typically-developing individuals.  The reason appears to be cyclical; Those with autism are predisposed to greater motor deficits, and sedentary lifestyles combined with poorly-implemented “adaptive” PE programs do not engage young people in these activities.

Before passing on the importance of squatting as “only something weightlifters” or “fitness people do” take a look at the picture below

Not quite the assumed muscle-head, eh?

Not quite the assumed muscle-head, eh?

We EVOLVED to squat. It is not just a skill for sports.  If we do not begin to or learn to perform it properly, we risk a laundry list of problems from lower back pain to gait pattern issues to knee injuries.  I am a big proponent of a non-verbal adolescent on the autism spectrum NOT having low back pain.

Will developing strength and good posture in different bending/squatting situations make kids better at sports? Sure! But most of us living with and/or working with the young autism community don’t care much about sports, or shouldn’t in the majority of cases. We should however, make it a point to develop healthy, optimally functioning sons, daughters, students, and clients.  Through developing physical skills, we open up a world of new possibilities. That’s not a nice way of wrapping up this post, but both a truth and a challenge to those reading along.

Some great bending/squatting activities:

– Squat while holding an anchored band

– Bear walks

– Frog hops

– Backwards frog walk

Live Inspired,