Review book: The Autism Fitness Handbook

The Autism Fitness Handbook

David S. Geslak

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London & Philadelphia

2015, 168 p. – 54 illustrations


This book is one of the very few contributions devoted to provide information, guidance and practical supports  to people who want to start a motor program with children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The main goal achieved by David Geslak is to write and focus us on abilities, rather than on mental and physical problems. It’s a true fitness book, which describe a specific program based on 46 exercises to practice. The Author said the program has been used not only with children but with adults too, determining improvements independently from the ability possessed at the begin of the activity.

The program is divided in four parts: engage, educate, empower and exercise. The first part talks about the way to involve the children in the program. In this section very important are the patient and motivation of the teachers, their ability to provide structure and routine and the use of visual supports (e.g., pictures, cards, timers), in the same time it’s important that the parents at home are committed in the same direction, improving the child health, for example also following an adequate food and beverage management and continue the movement activities.  The second part talks about education, that means why they are exercising. In this section are described the five components of physical fitness: body image, motor coordination, posture, muscular and cardiovascular fitness. There is also an additional item regarding the children abdominal strength, part of the body image and muscular fitness,  weak in these children and it needs to be reinforced. The third part talks about empower, in this section are reviewed the champion stories and exercise routines used by David Geslak with eight people with ASD. The fourth part regards the exercise area. It proposes exercises following the five components, including abdominal strength. Each of the 46 exercises is described in term of goal satisfied, how to do, repetitions and coaching tips. I appreciate this contribute to spread the physically active life style also in children with ASD, based on the assertive concept to start from their competences to improve them in the long period with a specific program.

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