Cindy Ring, MSW, LSW
Expert Name:  Cindy Ring, MSW, LSW
Expert Title: MSW, LSW
Company Name:  Step By Step Inc.
Company URL: www.stepbystepacademy.org
Short Bio: Cindy is a clinical administrative associate with Step By Step Inc. Her responsibilities include designing research studies, protocols and evaluation tools, data collection and analysis and writing and editing grants and reports. Cindy is a member of the National Psychology Honor Society and a licensed social worker. She holds an MSW in Social Work Administration from Ohio State University, a BS in Psychology from Wright State University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Forensic Psychology from Walden University.

Keeping Your Teen Active

 

Teens with an autism spectrum disorder (and all teens really) sometimes have difficulty finding things to do that involve staying active.  Staying active is important for several reasons:
 
It keeps teens at a healthier weight
It sometimes reduces constipation
It keeps teens’ muscles in good shape
It releases chemicals in the teen’s brain that increase energy and happiness and sometimes lessens sadness and depression
It works on gross motor skills
It’s fun!
 
What can you do to help your teen find activities that allow him or her to stay active?
 
Look at local sports programs- there are many sports programs that are for children teens, and adults with disabilities.  If you can’t find one or if your teen wants to be on a typical sports team, there is no reason not to get in touch with a local organization and get your teen started!  There are many sports to try!  If your teen likes solo sports, try swimming, jogging, horseback riding, or golfing.  These are all great sports and great exercise!
 
Have a family bike ride several times a week- This is a great way to spend some time together as a family and also get some fun in the sun as well!  If your teen has not yet learned to ride a bike or biking is not his or her thing, go for family walks every other day or so.  This is another great way to get active while spending some quality time.  Pick different places to walk each time for changes of scenery.
 
Summer camps- there are lots of camps for teens with disabilities and lots of typical camps.  Go over some of the choices with your teen and see what he or she likes about each one.  Camps offer different activities, camps with themes (like theatre camp) and there are day camps and sleep over camps.  You and your teen will need to decide which one he or she would like to attend.  A good idea is to make a game plan ahead of time and go and visit the camp first to see how the teen feels about it.  Try to meet some of the staff in advance as well so your teen is prepared.  Also, create with your teen a plan for what to do if he or she feels homesick or if he or she wants to quit.
 
Be with nature- Go on nature walks and hikes or bird watching events with your teen.  Many local parks and rec centers offer nature hikes, moonlight walks, insect study hikes, and bird watching walks for a low fee or even free all summer long.  Who knows, your teen may even develop a new hobby!
 
Make exercise part of your teens daily schedule- When your teen is helping you put his or her daily schedule together, slip in 30 minutes of yoga, aerobics, dancing, anything that gets him or her moving.  If it becomes part of the schedule, your teen is likely to keep it up!
 
These are just a few ideas to get your teen active this summer and beyond!  Encourage your teen to give some of them a try!
 

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