Can participation in a community organized football program improve social, behavioural functioning and communication in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder? A pilot study

Katherine Howells, Carmel Sivaratnam, Ebony Lindor, Christian Hyde, Jane McGillivray, Andrew Whitehouse, Nicole Rinehart

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17 Citations (Scopus)


This pilot research investigated the effects of a community-based organized football program on behavioral, social and communicative outcomes in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In a non-randomized design, 19 children completed the football program and were compared pre- and post-intervention with 21 children who received no comparable intervention (ages 5–12 years). Caregiver-report using the child behavior checklist indicated a significant decrease in total, internalizing, DSM-oriented anxiety and social problems for children who participated in the program, with no change in the comparison group. There were no group differences in socialization and communication scores on the Vineland Adaptive Behavior scale. Results provide preliminary evidence in support of the program, justifying the need for further, more rigorous trials in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3714-3727
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • ASD
  • Externalizing
  • Football
  • Internalizing
  • Organized physical activity
  • Social functioning

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