Browsing by Author "Fannin, Nicola"
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- ItemThe effects of a small group intervention programme on gross motor and social skills of selected autistic children(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2015-03) Fannin, Nicola; Africa, Eileen Katherine; Van Deventer, K. J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Sport Science.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.