Gross motor abilities of children with high-functioning autism
Berkeley, Sheri L.
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This thesis assessed the gross motor abilities of fifteen children six to eight years old with high-functioning autism (HFA). The research data was collected at Northern Illinois University or in another setting familiar to the child. After reaching 90% agreement with training tapes from the TGMD, authored by D.A. Ulrich in 1985, the researcher and a research assistant scored video-taped sessions based on three to four performance criteria for each item. Test items from the TGMD include the locomotor skills (running, galloping, leaping, skipping, sliding, hopping, and jumping) and the object control skills (two-hand strike, bouncing, catching, kicking, and throwing). The purposes of this study were: (1) to describe performances of 6- to 8- yearold subjects with HFA and identify developmental delays in the areas of overall fundamental skill, locomotor skill and/or object control skill, (2) to identify statistically significant differences in scores obtained by subjects compared to TGMD standardized norms in the fundamental skill areas, and (3) to determine whether delays in object control skills occur more frequently for the subjects than delays in locomotor skills and, if so, whether there was a difference in the degree of delay between subtests. Inter rater agreement determined by proportion of agreement was 82% overall and for both subtests. Intraclass correlation coefficient interrater reliability was R = .94 for locomotor, R = .92 for object control, and R = .95 overall. It was determined that 60% of the children demonstrated an overall delay in gross motor skill, 20% demonstrated delay in one subtest area, and 20% showed no delay. Further, results from t-tests demonstrated that the children with HFA had a lower overall score (M = 65.2, SD = 15.2) than the norm population (M = 100; p < .0001) and that their scores for locomotor (M - 3.6, SD = 2.03) and object control skill (M = 4.8, SD = 3.57) were significantly lower than the norm population (M = 10; p < .0001). Although there was a significant correlation between locomotor and object control scores (r = .61; p < .016), there was not a significant difference in the degree of delay between subtests (p < . 123). Although the information in this study is beneficial for educators of children with high-functioning autism, more research is needed about motor abilities of all children with autism, including appropriate assessment tools for instructional planning.