Main Article Content
Objective: The study sought to investigate the role of physical activities in the development of social skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder regarding physical education teachers' perspective in the department of Special Education, Punjab, Pakistan. Physical activities can help autistic children improve their social skills.
Research Design: This study employed a descriptive study approach using survey method to examine the physical activities experienced by students with Autism Spectrum Disorder from the perspectives of physical education teachers in special schools. Purposive sampling was applied to collect data from different divisions of Punjab. The data were collected through self-designed questionnaire from the special education teachers teaching in different schools of Special Education.
Findings: Numerical analysis revealed that special education teachers, psychologists, and speech therapists identified a wide variety of participation, stereotyped behavior, general behavior and emotional control, social and communicative abilities, and motor capabilities. To improve motor skills, the findings suggested that cooperative learning strategies be used; that psychomotor activities and team games be introduced to reduce stereotyped behavior, improve conduct and emotional control, and foster social and communicative skills; and that tasks and games aimed at developing basic motor skills and coordination abilities be included. Furthermore, there was no significant difference was found in the opinion of physical education teachers' perspective among special education teachers, psychologists, and speech therapists. Moreover, there was no significant difference in the opinion of physical education teachers' perspective among special education teachers, psychologists, and speech therapists. Physical activities can help autistic children their cultivating social skills.
Conclusion: Children with Autism Spectrum exhibit features such as lack of eye contact, facial expressions, language, motor development, cognitive, and learning delays. They also suffer from epilepsy, abnormal sleeping and eating patterns, degrading behavior, uneasiness and worry, and trouble communicating and learning new languages.
Practical Implications: Our findings added to the evidence that physical activities have good impacts on motor and social abilities, which supported the concept that motor and intellectual domains are intimately connected in autistic children.