WASHINGTON: Group exercise programs, treadmill training and horseback riding can benefit kids with developmental disabilities, according to a new review of studies.
According to research analyzed by Connie Johnson, PT, a physical therapist with the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, by doing these kinds of activities, kids with disorders such as autism, mental retardation and cerebral palsy can improve their coordination and aerobic fitness.
The researchers said that the findings are encouraging, since studies show that children with developmental disabilities tend to be less fit than their peers.
Johnson analyzed 14 studies and three other evidence reviews to determine how youth with developmental disabilities might benefit from physical activity.
The strongest evidence of benefits came from studies of group exercise, therapeutic horseback riding and treadmill workouts.
Skiing and swimming programs might also be beneficial, but the evidence from those programs was not as strong.