Autism Spectrum Disorders mark the fastest growing developmental affliction among children over the past three-plus decades. Taking autistic children on day hikes can help alleviate some of the disorders' negative symptoms, however.
Autistic children who play in natural environments enjoy improved attention spans and behavioral temperament as well as decreased response times, according to studies. These environments - and the best trail for these children to hike - create opportunities for physical play while providing small, safe spaces where they can "re-center."
Of course, no autistic child is exactly like another. The challenge of any adult planning such a hike is to find an area that takes into account their autistic child's unique sensory issues and perceptions.
When that occurs, a hike can provide the benefits outlined in research while also delivering many of the other advantages that children who go outdoors enjoy, such as a stronger immune system.
Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.