Individuals with autism often lack motivation to engage in sustained physical activity. Three adolescents with severe autism participated in a 16-week program and each regularly completed 30 min of cycling at the end of program. This study investigated the effect of a self-regulation instructional strategy on sustained cycling, which included self-monitoring, goal setting, and self-reinforcement. Of particular interest was the development of self-efficacy during the physical activity as a mediator of goal setting. A multiple baseline changing criterion design established the effectiveness of the intervention. The results suggest that self-regulation interventions can promote sustained participation in physical activity for adolescents with severe autism.
Teri Todd is with Adapted Physical Education Department at California State University, Chico. Greg Reid is with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, and Lynn Butler-Kisber is with the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, both at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.