Supportive Research

Ascendigo is proud of developing its athletic, professional and social integration programs inspired by and based on up-to-date scholarly research in autism.

  • Mental Benefits

A 2012 study by researchers at the University of Minnesota has shown that exercise helps block the negative effects that fatty foods have on learning and memory functions of the brain. Note: It is not beneficial to cut out healthy fats such as from corn or soy products.  

Research through the years has shown that challenging outdoor play is essential to children’s health, both in terms of physical fitness and brain development — more specifically, safe risk-taking enhances cognitive and creative abilities in addition to feelings of self-worth.

An investigation pioneered by the British Consortium for People with Learning Difficulties shows the wide-ranging intra-personal and inter-personal benefits of adventurous outdoor activities on populations with learning difficulties.

In addition, green spaces lessen brain fatigue. More specifically, exposure to nature — such as the rivers our campers raft down, the mountains they rock climb in, and the trails they bike through — enhances attention, focus, and meditative mental states. In the same line of thought, a study from the Center for Neuroscience at UC Boulder has also shown that exercise can prevent the development of depression and anxiety by reducing stress levels through profound molecular biochemical changes.

  • Physical Benefits

A 2012 Harvard Medical School research trial showed that bone density is lower in peripubertal boys with an autism spectrum disorder and may be linked to a deficit in vitamin D and physical exercise. Interestingly, it has been shown that regular exercise in children improves bone density.

A 2008 study orchestrated by the Council on Children with Disabilities Executive Committee and published in the Journal of Pediatrics highlights the importance of physical activity, recreation, and sports participation as a means to promote inclusion, ensure physical health and increase overall well-being. Even more poignant is a study that demonstrates the higher prevalence of obesity among populations with ASD, driving home the importance of regular exercise for individuals with autism.

study conducted by Indiana University in 2006 demonstrates the importance of regular physical activity in youth and adolescents on the autism spectrum through individualized programs to avoid health problems associated with inactivity.

Did you know….?

Science is showing that outdoor exercise has more benefits than indoor exercise.


Enjoy a rewarding position working with
individuals on the autism spectrum

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