Changes in Adaptive Behaviour in 3-5-Year-Old Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Following a Motor Skill Intervention: Preliminary Results
Objectives: To determine the impact of a 12-week motor skill intervention in 3-5-year-old children with ASD on FMS and adaptive behavior.
Methods: 14 children with ASD (11 male, 3 female, Mean age = 3.51 ± .52) were recruited for a 12 week, 2 hours/week, wait-list controlled fundamental motor skill intervention. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 7, Mean age = 3.74 ± 0.69) or control group (n = 7, Mean age = 3.38 ± 0.13). The Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD-2) was used to measure motor skills before and after the intervention and determine the Gross Motor Quotient (GMQ). The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (2nd ed.) was used to score overall adaptive functioning. The Adaptive Behavior Composite (ABC) is a composite score that summarizes the individual’s performance across four domains related to adaptive functioning: Communication, Daily Living Skills, Socialization and Motor Skills.
Results: There were no significant differences between the groups at the pre-test. Group 1: the ABC standard score (mean = 71.86 ± 8.26), GMQ (mean = 81.57 ± 19.09) and Group 2: ABC Standard Score (mean = 80 ± 11.11), GMQ (mean = 77.29 ± 12.59) at the pre-test. After the 12-week intervention, scores for post-test in Group 1: ABC (mean = 79.29 ± 12.02), GMQ (mean = 91.86 ± 20.91), and Group 2: ABC (mean = 75.29 ± 8.34) and GMQ (mean = 87.57 ± 14.33). There was a significant effect for the group by time interaction (p= 0.003) for the ABC but no significant effect for time. For the GMQ, there was a significant effect for time (p = 0.002) but the group by time interaction was not significant.
Conclusions: These preliminary results indicate that a fundamental motor skill intervention may have a positive impact on adaptive behaviour in 3-5-year-old children with ASD. This intervention was an age appropriate, skill-based intervention focusing on the skills needed for active play. Overall, the results are promising and indicate the need for further research in this area.