The effects of a small group intervention programme on gross motor and social skills of selected autistic children

Fannin, Nicola (2015-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Movement plays an important role in a child’s life. Typically developing children develop motor skills as they explore their environment. Motor skills are important, as they contribute to a child’s overall wellbeing, assisting in play, academics, social development and physical activity. These motor milestones developed during childhood, and can be used as indicators of atypical development. Children with a complex neurodevelopmental disorder such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show signs of atypical development, as they are recognised as being clumsy and uncoordinated in their gross and fine motor skills. Besides motor delays, parents and caregivers report that children with ASD also exhibit delays in social communication, interaction and repetitive behaviours and interests, during the early stages of development. Research has suggested a possible relationship between motor and social development. For example, motor skills are important as they provide children with the necessary tools to successfully engage in physical activity, socially communicate and interact with peers. Children with ASD, however, participate in physical activity less often than typically developing children which hinders the mastery of motor skills, in turn causing social isolation and further social dysfunction. Interventions are, therefore, necessary to provide children with ASD opportunities to learn the essential gross motor skills, which could help them improve their self-esteem, leading to increased participation in physical activity and further social skill development. The purpose of the current study was to implement a 12-week specialised group intervention programme to improve the gross motor and social skills of selected children diagnosed with ASD between the ages of 8 and 13 years. In the Cape Town area, a governmental school for autistic learners was recruited to take part in this study, as the school divided learners into classes based on their level of autistic function. Therefore, the sample in the current study was a sample of convenience. Two classes (N=7) at the school participated; 1 formed the experimental group (n=4) and the other the control group (n=3). The children completed the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2), and parents or legal guardians and teachers of participants filled out the Social Responsiveness Scale-2 (SRS-2) questionnaire. This was done to provide an overview of the children’s fine and gross motor and social skill proficiency. A 12-week group intervention programme was designed and then implemented by the researcher, with the focus on improving overall gross motor proficiency and social skills of participants in the experimental group. The effect of the 12-week group intervention programme was determined by analysing and comparing the pre- to post-test results. The group-time interaction effect was examined to determine if the experimental group presented a different effect from the control group over time. The main findings of the current study showed that the 12-week group intervention programme made significant improvements in the total motor proficiency as well as in the balance subtest of the MABC-2 in children with ASD. Significance was also found within the experimental group in the aiming and catching subtest of the MABC-2. Unfortunately, the current study found no significant improvements after the 12-week group intervention programme in total social skill competency, as well as in all subtests of the SRS-2 in children with ASD. The current study shows the effectiveness of a 12-week group intervention programme on the gross motor skills of children with ASD. The findings also suggest that social skills should be taught alongside motor skills, in order to achieve positive outcomes in both aspects of development. Further investigation is needed with regards to the relationship between motor and social skills, as well as additional examinations as to whether improved motor skills, results in improved social development.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Beweging speel ʼn belangrike rol in ʼn kind se ontwikkeling tot ʼn volwaardige volwassene. Kinders sal tipiese motoriese vaardighede aanleer soos hulle hul omgewing verken. Motoriese vaardighede is belangrik omdat dit tot akademiese, sosiale, fisieke, speel aktiwiteite en ʼn kind se algehele welstand bydra. Die mylpale wat gedurende die kinderjare bereik word, is ʼn belangrike aanwyser van atipiese ontwikkeling. Kinders met ʼn komplekse neuro-ontwikkelingsversteuring soos Outisme Spektrum Versteuring (OSV), toon tipies tekens van atipiese ontwikkeling omdat hulle onbeholpe en ongekoördineerd in hul groot en fynmotoriese vaardighede voorkom. Afgesien van motoriese agterstande rapporteer ouers en versorgers dat kinders met OSV gedurende die vroeë kinderjare ook agterstande in sosiale kommunikasie, interaksie en herhalende gedrag en belangstellings toon. Navorsing toon ʼn moontlike verhouding tussen motoriese en sosiale ontwikkeling. Motoriese vaardighede is belangrik omdat dit kinders met die nodige vaardighede toerus om fisieke aktiwiteite suksesvol uit te voer, om te kan speel, om te sosialiseer en om met hulle eweknieë te kan verkeer. Kinders met OSV sal tipies aan minder fisieke aktiwiteite as kinders wat normaal op dié gebiede ontwikkel, deelneem en sodoende sal dit tot verdere sosiale isolasie en sosiale disfunksie aanleiding gee. Intervensies is daarom, belangrik om kinders met OSV geleenthede te bied om die noodsaaklike grootmotoriese vaardighede, wat hul selfagting kan verhoog, hul deelname aan fisieke aktiwiteite kan verhoog en verbetering in sosiale ontwikkeling kan aanmoedig, aan te leer. Die doel van die huidige studie was om met ʼn gespesialiseerde groep intervensieprogram die grootmotoriese en sosiale vaardighede van ʼn geselekteerde groep kinders, tussen die ouderdom van 8 en 13 jaar, wat met OSV, gediagnoseer is te implementeer. Een regeringskool vir Outistiese leerders in die Kaapstad omgewing is geselekteer om aan hierdie studie deel te neem. Omdat die skool die leerders in klasse op grond van hul graad vlak van Outisme verdeel, is daar van ʼn gerieflikheidsteekproef gebruik gemaak. Leerder in twee klasse (N=7) van die skool het deelgeneem; 1 groep was die eksperimentele groep (n=4) en die ander groep (n=3) die kontrolegroep. Die kinders het die Movement Assesment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2), voltooi en die ouers of die wettige voogde en onderwysers het die Social Responsiveness Scale-2 (SRS=2), vraelys voltooi. Die is gedoen om ʼn oorsig van die kinders se fyn- en grootmotoriese- sowel as sosiale vaardighede te bekom. Die 12-week groep intervensieprogram wat op die algehele verbetering van groot motoriese- en sosiale vaardighede van al die deelnemers in die eksperimentele groep gefokus het, is deur die navorser ontwikkel en geïmplementeer. Die effek van die 12-week groep intervensieprogram is deur die ontleding en vergelyking van die voor- en na-toets data bepaal. Die groep-tyd interaksie-effek is ondersoek om te bepaal of die eksperimentele groep 'n ander effek as die kontrole groep met verloop van tyd toon het. Die belangrikste bevindinge van die huidige studie het getoon dat die 12-week groep intervensieprogram aansienlike verbeteringe in die totale motoriese vaardigheid, sowel as in die balans sub-toets van die MABC-2, by kinders met OSV te weeg gebring het. Betekenis is ook binne die eksperimentele groep by die mik- en vang sub-toets van die MABC-2 gevind. Ongelukkig is geen betekenisvolle verbeteringe in sosiale vaardighede, sowel as in al die sub-toetse van die SRS-2 by die kinders met OSV gevind nie. Die huidige studie het die doeltreffendheid van 'n 12-week groep intervensieprogram op die grootmotoriese vaardighede van kinders met OSV getoon. Die bevindinge dui ook daarop dat sosiale vaardighede saam met motoriese vaardighede aangeleer moet word, om sodoende positiewe uitkomste in beide aspekte van ontwikkeling te kan bereik. Verdere navorsing met betrekking tot die verhouding tussen motoriese en sosiale vaardighede is nodig, sowel as verdere navorsing om te bepaal of verbeterde motoriese vaardighede ʼn verbetering in sosiale ontwikkeling sal toon.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96891
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