Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.H.K.

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

Horton, Sean

Second Advisor

Azar, Nadia R.

Keywords

Health and environmental sciences, Education, Autism spectrum disorder, Intellectualdisability, Motor impairment, Motor skills training

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Individuals with autism and intellectual disability (ID) commonly display motor impairments, and these impairments are positively correlated to intellectual level and autism symptoms. In the present thesis, an intervention involving motor skills training, whole body exercise, sports and games was used to improve balance, fine and gross motor manual control and reaction time in a group of adults with autism and ID. Fine motor skill was measured using the 25 Grooved Pegboard Test, gross motor skill of the upper extremities was measured with the Box and Blocks Test, and reaction time was measured with the Stick Catching Test. Additionally, medial-lateral (ML) and anterior-posterior (AP) displacement and velocity, as well as sway area of each participant's Center of Pressure (COP), were measured using a force platform. Significant fine motor improvement occurred at retention when compared to baseline and gross motor improvement approached statistical significance but only when the sums of both trials at each session were taken. Statistically significant improvements were not found for reaction time testing or for any static balance variables. Future studies should include a control group and assess for hand dominance, repetitive behaviour and sex differences.

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