Investigating the effectiveness of a gymnastics intervention on motor skills and balance of children ages 5-9 with autism spectrum disorder

Date
2017-04-01
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Abstract
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) usually display motor skills and balance that are delayed and less proficient compared to their peers with typical development (TD). However, very little research has focused on implementing interventions targeting motor skills and balance of children with ASD. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a gymnastics intervention on motor skills and balance of children ages 5-9 with ASD compared to a fine motor intervention. Participants were randomly assigned into the gymnastics or fine motor group. The results indicated that overall motor skills, as well as motor skill subtests and subscales slightly improved for both groups following the intervention. In addition, manual dexterity significantly improved for the fine motor group following the intervention (p=0.03). The results also indicated small improvements in some sections of the balance assessment for both groups following the intervention. The results of this study indicate that a six-week gymnastics intervention, once a week for 45 minutes per session, did not lead to a significant improvement in motor skills or balance of children ages 5-9 with ASD. More research is needed on the effect of gymnastics interventions with a higher dosage and intensity, as well as a larger sample size.
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Keywords
Autism spectrum disorder, Motor skills, Balance, Gymnastics, Motor skill interventions
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