Spontaneous Interpersonal Coordination in Children with Autism

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Spontaneous Interpersonal Coordination in Children with Autism

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This study investigated the ability of pairs of children with Autism (ASD) and typically developing (TD) children to spontaneously coordinate their rocking movements while exposed to visual and auditory stimuli. The central research question sought to determine if children with ASD could coordinate their rocking movements in situations where social interaction was required. Pairs of TD children and pairs of children with ASD performed rocking tasks, while sitting side-by-side. Each pair completed four experimental conditions of three trials each, during which they were instructed to rock while either directing their gaze forward (FF) or directly (DF) at their partner. Participants were also paced with a metronome in two of the four conditions (one FF and one DF). Results revealed a general consistency for rocking frequency between both groups, although TD children demonstrated a more consistent and coordinated syncing ability. Contrary to the hypothesis, children with ASD synced better in DF no paced conditions than in the FF paced condition. However, further studies need to be conducted to determine if all auditory stimuli or only certain sounds (i.e., music vs tick of a metronome) has an effect on the ability of children with ASD to coordinate rocking movements with a partner.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2015. Major: Kinesiology. Advisor: Michael Wade. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 125 pages.

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Kappes, Lisa. (2015). Spontaneous Interpersonal Coordination in Children with Autism. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/175204.

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