Date of Completion

Spring 6-2-2023

Thesis Advisor(s)

Sudha Srinivasan

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology

Second Honors Major

Health Care Management


Behavioral Neurobiology | Kinesiotherapy | Motor Control | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Physical Therapy | Physiotherapy


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of creative movement, general movement, and seated play interventions on bilateral coordination, balance, and upper limb coordination motor skills of children with autism spectrum disorder.

Methods: This data was collected as a part of a multisite intervention study, Play and Move study, by the University of Connecticut and University of Delaware. Participants were contacted through the SPARK database, UConn Kids, fliers sent to local autism services, schools, community centers and by posting information online or to listservs. Forty-five children agreed to participate in this study and were randomly assigned into one of the three training groups (creative movement, general movement, or seated play). Sixteen training sessions were provided to each participant over 8 sessions, with 2 sessions/week, lasting approximately 1-1 ½ hours per session. Using the BOT-2 Test of Motor Proficiency, participants were tested pre-intervention and post-intervention. Independent t tests were used to test between-group differences and dependent t tests were used to measure within-group changes in performance from pretest to posttest.

Results: Results showed a statistically significant improvement in balance for the general movement group. Results showed a statistically significant improvement in bilateral coordination for both the general movement group and creative movement groups. The seated play group did not improve on balance or bilateral coordination subtests. None of the groups showed any statistically significant improvements in the upper limb coordination subtest.

Discussion: These results can inform the choice of movement interventions in communities and education systems. Results show that general movement and creative movement are effective interventions to improve gross motor skills including bilateral coordination and balance in children with ASD.