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How Outdoor Activities Help Children Overcome Autism Spectrum Disorder

Many in-depth pieces of research have greatly suggested that outdoor activities can significantly improve the effectiveness of the child’s therapeutic treatments against ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. Unfortunately, in many regions, outdoor ABA therapy for kids is still isn’t quite popular due to a lack of awareness of its impact on the child’s learning and developmental capabilities. This piece of content has been created to rectify this issue and spread knowledge about the effectiveness and efficiency of outdoor ABA therapy in curing Autism.  

Due to many factors that the young generation is facing, like Covid restrictions, video games, online social world, virtual reality, and many others, there has been a significant decrease in opportunities for the children to play outside and become more familiar with nature. And as a consequence, they are suffering. This disconnection with the outside world and nature is directly linked to increased anxiety, obesity, lack of mental and physical development, which greatly limits their social and emotional capabilities. And all of these problems and issues are found in individuals who are diagnosed with ASD. Meaning, children and young adults who have Autism will greatly benefit by connecting with nature and the outside world. 

Over the decade, research has been shedding a strong spotlight on the heavy impact nature has on the development of children and young people. Studies have also indicated that creating a meaningful connection of the child between nature can help them overcome challenges such as ADHD by reducing negative emotions like anxiety, nervousness, and frustration and exposing them to a relaxing, comfortable, and fun environment. However, there is a lack of studies in the department of ASD when it comes to nature and outdoor activities despite the rate at which this disability is affecting our generation. Hence, an urgent need to create awareness about the positive effect nature and outdoor activities have on Autistic children and young adults.

This method of ABA therapy can be linked with previous research that demonstrated clearly how autistic children learn social and emotional skills by interacting with animals. It showed that these children displayed more focused attention, social interaction, speech, and positive emotion only because they were allowed a pet. These findings opened the door to many other possibilities, and outdoor activities were one of them.

Children who live in areas with less green space and nature around them have a prevalence of autism and face much more difficulties in overcoming it even with professional help from the best. However, the children living in areas that allow them direct interaction with nature and outdoor activities have a stronger tendency to fight off autism and learn communication, language, speech, interaction, and social skills much faster. Wu and Jackson conducted this study in 2017. 

Another study by Chang and Change in 2018 clearly showed that autistic children who indulge in outdoor activities have 7 main benefits over children who do not. The young kids who were allowed the safe and learning environment of nature were better at communicating with others. They showed stronger emotional control and understanding of social interactions. Furthermore, being exposed to nature allowed them to reduce their autistic sensitivity. 

The learning, growth, and development process is just as effective indoors as it is outdoors in nature. Taking children who are facing ASD along with other disabilities will surely struggle if they are only taught in classrooms or other similar environments. Studies have proven through irrefutable evidence that outdoor activities in a natural environment allow children to better themselves far more effectively. At times, children may find peace and comfort only in the outdoor environment and feel claustrophobic in closed rooms, making it impossible to hold successful ABA therapy sessions to provide sufficient treatment. 

Mother nature and whatever it offers have always been a source of comfort and healing for humans for countless centuries. Even the ancient people understood and used its healing powers. It’s no surprise that the natural outdoors can do the same for kids facing severe disabilities and help them learn skills and shape their mental and physical capabilities to allow them to have a better, happier life filled with quality and freedom to make any decision they want

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