A recent article by Stacy Herlihy discusses the rate of autism in the Amish population of the U.S., a group who do not vaccinate their children at any point. Herlihy points out that the rate of autism or autism characteristics among Amish children are similar to the number reported in the general population. If the rate of autism in non-vaccinated populations of children correlates similarly with the vaccinated population, it may exonerate vaccines, or at least the purported culprit Thimerisol as the cause of autism.
Of course, I will preface this paragraph by stating that I am not an epidemiologist, medical professional, nor have I any link to studies on causative factors of autism and related disorders. What I will argue for is an understanding of good science versus what is referred to as “voodoo” or bad science. Good science is:
-Based on the principles of the scientific method
How does this relate to autism fitness? The difference between successful fitness/movement/sports programs for young people with autism and those that are less functional exists in building pre-requisite skills and then more complex abilities on top of those. Simply because a program is called “Baseball for children with autism” or “special needs Karate” does not mean that this is what the kids will be doing when they walk into that environment. There is no magic to a good program, there is methodology. The same is true of poor programs, albeit an issue of either lack of experience or expertise on the part of the instructor. The point is that just because a program is called “sports for kids with special needs” it does not entail that somehow, through supernatural intervention, each child will automatically be able to comprehend the rules and gain the abilities to participate. That is not the way thing work in this planet.
On the optimistic front, good fitness and sports program can also facilitate the development of critical skills for children with autism. From gross motor to cognitive and social functioning, a movement program that meets each individual at his/her functional level and meets strategic goals will not only enable them to participate and thrive in that environment, but in other situations as well. Do your research, and make sure the researchers are doing theirs.