The effects of an adapted physical activity program on motor performance and behaviour of children with autism spectrum disorder

Ferguson, Leanne (2010-03)

Thesis (M Sport Sc (Sport Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The effect of an adapted physical activity (APA) program on the motor performance of children with autism was studied. A multiple single case studies approach was implemented. Three children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), aged between three and eight years old, were chosen for the study. A baseline, pre- and post-test assessment evaluated the effect of a 20-week intervention program. Motor abilities were tested using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, and selected items from the Brockport Physical Fitness Test were used to assess physical fitness. The intervention was administered three times per week and focused on the individual motor impairments of each child. The program termed “Mighty Muscles” was continuously developed according to the child‟s specific goals and developments. Additionally, social play and overall behaviour assessments were also done. The Sherrill-University of Virginia Adapted Physical Education Social Play Behaviour Inventory assessed social play and a behavioural profile developed by the researcher assessed daily living activities and behaviours associated with autism. Due to the nature of autism, the results of each child were analysed, graphed and discussed individually. For the three children, the APA program had a positive effect in improving the motor abilities, including improvements in ball skills, manual dexterity and balance. The APA program also improved the physical fitness of the three subjects including aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance and flexibility. Self-stimulatory behaviours and inappropriate behaviours (fidgeting, self-injury) decreased in all three subjects while rates of appropriate physical activity during free time increased, demonstrating the positive contribution the APA program had on behaviours associated with autism. Social play became more spontaneous and interactive for case study two and three. From this study, it is concluded that an adapted physical activity program is an essential addition in the holistic treatment of autism. This study provides further research and insight into the components of a successful APA program.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: „n Ondersoek is gedoen om die effek van „n Aangepaste Bewegingsprogram op die motoriese vermoë van drie kinders wat met outisme ge-identifiseer is, na te gaan. Die ouderdomme van die deelnemers wissel tussen drie en agt jaar. „n Gevalle-studie navorsingsontwerp is gebruik en die effek van „n 20-weeklange intervensieprogram is bepaal deur die resultate van basislyn-, voor- en na-programtoetsing te vergelyk. Motoriese vermoë is nagegaan deur gebruik te maak van die Movement Assessment Battery for Children, en liggaamlike fiksheid deur die gebruik van die Brockport Physical Fitness Test. Bykomend is waarnemings gemaak omtrent die sosiale speeltendense en algemene gedragspatrone van elke kind. Die Sherrill –University of Virginia Adapted Physical Education Social Play Behaviour Inventory en „n selfontwerpte gedragsprofiel, om alledaagse aktiwiteite en geassosieerde outistiese gedrag waar te neem, is ook benut. Die intervensiesessies is drie maal per week gedoen en het gefokus op die motoriese agterstande van elke individuele deelnemer. Soos mikpunte bereik is, is die inhoud van die Mighty Muscles program voortdurend aangepas. As gevolg van die unieke aard van outisme, is die resultate van elke kind afsonderlik ontleed, word dit afsonderlik illustreer en bespreek. Die spesifieke aangepaste bewegingsprogram het „n positiewe effek op die motoriese vermoëns van al drie deelnemers gehad. Verbetering in bal-, handvaardighede en balansvermoë was opvallend. Die aërobiese kapasiteit, spierkrag en spieruithouvermoë asook lenigheid, met ander woorde fiksheid van al drie het as gevolg van deelname aan die intervensieprogram, verbeter. Selfstimulerende en onvanpaste gedrag het afgeneem terwyl deelname aan meer gepaste, spontane vryetydaktiwiteite, duidelik waargeneem is. Al bogenoemde resultate dui op die positiewe bydrae van „n aangepaste bewegingsprogram op die gedrag van kinders wat met outisme geïdentifiseer is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4296
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