《Chinese Journal of Rehabilitation Theory and Practice》 ›› 2022, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (11): 1309-1317.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1006-9771.2022.11.010

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Functional effects of physical activity on children and adolescents with autism based on ICF-CY: a systematic review

SONG Beibei1,WANG Yunting1,WANG Dongming2,BAI Kaixiang1()   

  1. 1. School of Sports Medicine, Wuhan Sports University, Wuhan, Hubei 430079, China
    2. Huai'an Maternal and Child Health Hospital, Huai'an, Jiangsu 223002, China
  • Received:2022-11-07 Revised:2022-11-09 Published:2022-11-25 Online:2022-12-20
  • Contact: BAI Kaixiang E-mail:347973428@qq.com
  • Supported by:
    Ministry of Science and Technology Key Program(2018YFF0300400);Chinese Academy of Education Key Special Project(16TY1713011ZA)


Objective To establish the category and structure of sports activities of autistic children and adolescents, and systematically review the functioning effects of physical activity on autistic children and adolescents, using International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health-Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY).

Methods Randomized controlled trials (RCT) about the the health benefits of physical activity interventions for autistic children and adolescents were retrieved from CNKI, Wanfang Data, VIP, Web of Science, PubMed and EBSCO databases, from 2016 to 2022, and screened and reviewed.

Results A total of 13 RCT from seven countries were included finally, involving 437 participants (aged 3 to 13 years). The main sources were journals in fields of medicine, public health, autism, sports and other fields, published from 2018 to 2022. The types of physical activities that benefit children and adolescents with autism include physical fitness, skills and sports programs, including physical activity in daily life, recreational and leisure activities, sports training, school physical education programs and exercise rehabilitation; 30 to 90 minutes a time, one to three times a week, for six weeks to ten months, medium to high intensity. Physical activity might promote the functional recovery for autistic children and adolescents. For body function of emotional response, physical activity improved fear or anxiety, executive function, inhibition function, working memory, cognitive flexibility, social cognitive level, balance, flexibility, grip strength. For activities and participation of interaction, physical activity enhanced interpersonal interaction, communication, social skills, quality of life, well-being, social support, motor self-efficacy, participation in various leisure and sports activities, and range of mobility at level of activity and participation.

Conclusion The main disabilities of children and adolescents with autism manifest in dimensions of body function, activity and participation, and quality of life and well-being. The benefits of physical activity on children and adolescents with autism manifest the improvement of physical function, activity and participation, specifically motor skills, social communication and interaction, language skills, balance and coordination, control, attention, and executive function, as well as quality of life, social participation, self-efficacy and well-being.

Key words: autism, children, adolescents, physical activity, International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health-Children and Youth Version, systematic review

CLC Number: