, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 565-576

Vigorous, aerobic exercise versus general motor training activities: Effects on maladaptive and stereotypic behaviors of adults with both autism and mental retardation

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Abstract

Examined the effects of antecedent exercise conditions on maladaptive and stereotypic behaviors in 6 adults with both autism and moderate to profound mental retardation. The behaviors were observed in a controlled environment before and after 2 exercise and 1 nonexercise conditions. From the original group of 6 participants, 2 were selected subsequently to participate in aerobic exercise immediately before performing a community-integrated vocational task. Only antecedent aerobic exercise significantly reduced maladaptive and stereotypic behaviors in the controlled setting. Neither of the less vigorous antecedent conditions did. When aerobic exercise preceded the vocational task, similar reductions were observed. There were individual differences in response to antecedent exercise. Use of antecedent aerobic exercise to reduce maladaptive and stereotypic behaviors of adults with both autism and mental retardation is supported.

The authors acknowledge the important assistance provided by the following people: The staff and management of the Behavior Development and Learning Center at Camarillo State Hospital and Developmental Center directed by Israel Perel, Ellie Kimbauer, Judy Baptista, Kristine Herman, and especially the participants.