The Effect of an Indoor Climbing Program on Improving Handgrip Strength and Traverse Speed of Children With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder


  • Dimitrios Kokaridas University of Thessaly, Greece
  • Ioanna Demerouti University of Thessaly, Greece
  • Panagiota Margariti Trikala Mountaineering and Skiing Club, Greece
  • Charalampos Krommidas University of Thessaly, Greece


Indoor climbing, handgrip strength, speed, children, autism spectrum disorder


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an indoor climbing program on handgrip strength and traverse speed of children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The sample consisted of six male children, nine years old, with and without ASD, all beginners in climbing, separated in two groups of three participants: (a) autism spectrum disorder and (b) able-bodied. All children completed the same climbing program for 12 weeks, at a frequency of two sessions per week, for 40 minutes each session. Handgrip strength and traverse speed were tested pre and post climbing program. Statistical analysis included Friedman non-parametric tests to examine differences between pre and post measures for total sample, ASD group, and non ASD group separately and Mann-Whitney non-parametric tests to examine pre and post differences on handgrip and traverse speed between the ASD and non ASD group. Results of this investigation revealed improvement for the two skills measured and may indicate climbing as a useful recreation tool to improve physical skills of children with and without ASD. Future research could implement similar approaches using larger samples of children with different levels of functioning and climbing experience.

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