Implementation of Peer-Assisted Physical Activity via Telehealth for Adults on the Autism Spectrum: A Mixed Methods Feasibility Study.

Implementation of Peer-Assisted Physical Activity via Telehealth for Adults on the Autism Spectrum: A Mixed Methods Feasibility Study.

Publication date: Jan 17, 2024

Adults on the autism spectrum are at risk for physical inactivity, obesity, and related health conditions. Physical activity provides physical, social, and mental health benefits across the lifespan. Previous research examined feasibility and effectiveness of physical activity intervention in autistic children, but very few studies target autistic adults. This study examined the feasibility and acceptability of Physical Activity Connections via Telehealth (PACT), implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown as an alternative to in-person programming for autistic adults aged 18 to 32. The 10-week intervention utilized telehealth and remote technologies to deliver a theoretically grounded program to improve physical activity. Strategies included peer-guidance, coaching, individualized wellness goals, customized exercise programs, and wearable activity trackers. Feasibility and acceptability were examined using a mixed-methods design including observational and survey data collection, as well as participant interviews. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. Findings support feasibility and acceptability of telehealth to promote physical activity among autistic adults who have cognitive capacity and ability to utilize remote technology, with applicability beyond pandemic-imposed challenges. Telehealth delivery of physical activity interventions is a viable alternative to in-person programs and may enable autistic adults to overcome barriers to physical activity participation and access. As the rate of autism continues to rise globally, rehabilitation professionals will play a significant role in promoting health and wellness for autistic individuals across the lifespan. Findings promote informed practice based on the health needs of this growing segment of society.

Concepts Keywords
Autism Adult
Covid Autism Spectrum Disorder
Interviews Peer Support
Obesity Physical Activity
Week Telehealth

Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH Autism
disease MESH obesity
disease VO effectiveness
disease IDO intervention
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease VO viable
disease MESH Autism Spectrum Disorder

Original Article

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