The aim of this novel review and meta-analysis was to clarify the effects of group-based organised physical activity (OPA) for social and communicative outcomes in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Searches yielded 4347 articles.
Eleven were identified for review and seven for meta-analysis. Pooled statistical results revealed a non-significant effect for communication (k = 4; g = 0.13, CI [- 0.12, 0.38], p = .13) and a significant small-medium improvement in overall social functioning (k = 6; g = 0.45, CI [0.19, 0.72], p = .001).
Despite acknowledged limitations, these findings are important in the context of a growing clinical and consumer-driven demand for research that determines the role of OPA as a non-medical and inclusive treatment for children with ASD.
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