The Effects of a Physical Education Program on the Motor Skill Performance of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder


  • Hester Henderson
  • Arwen Fuller
  • Stacy Noren
  • Vanessa Mortensen Stout
  • Daniel Williams


ASD, assessment/measurement of motor skills, autism, intervention/training studies, movement skill interventions, physical education


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a 40-minute physical education class provided twice a week for six months on the performance of motor skills in 37 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) aged 5 to 12 years. A repeated-measures design and the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2) (Ulrich, 2000) were used to examine six-month changes in six locomotor and six object control skills. The locomotor skills included the run, slide, gallop, hop, leap, and horizontal jump.  The object control skills included the underhand roll, catch, overhand throw, stationary bounce, kick, and ball strike. Paired t-tests were used to determine whether there were physical education-related changes in motor skills. The 37 children with ASD demonstrated improvements in 10 of the 12 motor skills (p ? 0.020) after six months of the twice weekly physical education class.






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