ACTA MEDICA MEDITERRANEA, vol.38, no.2, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
Introduction: Children with autism and their families are experiencing the consequences of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) together. The physical activity, which contributed positively to the life skills of children with ASD before COVID-19, was interrupted due to COVID-19 restrictions. The aim of this study is to understand the physical activity experiences in autistic children before and during COVID-19 lockdown. Material and methods: Phenomenology was used in this qualitative study in order to understand in-depth experience regarding the opinions of their parents. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the parents of 6 children aged between 4 and 10 (Age: x??=6.1??SD=2.0) who met the criteria for a diagnosis of autism disorder in Eski??ehir. Content analysis was used for data analysis. Results: According to the results, the parents of autistic children who participated in physical activities reported that these activities positively contributed to their children???s to their communication skills, language development and self-care skills. On the other hand, they emphasized that physical activity restrictions due to the precautions taken during the pandemic had negative effects on their children. Conclusion: Considering the research results, learning environments should be constructed for individuals with special needs so that they can continue to benefit from educational opportunities even during unfavorable and uncommon periods like pandemics. Furthermore, teaching parents with autistic children how to do physical activity practices at home is important for maintaining positive behaviors and habits.