Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Human Movement Sciences


Exercise Science

Committee Director

Hunter J. Bennett

Committee Member

Justin Haegele

Committee Member

Kevin Valenzuela


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by social and communicative delays. It is known that those with ASD exhibit lower activity levels and decreased proprioception to some extent. The biomechanics of movement in ASD has not been assessed thoroughly enough to provide information on ASD specific movement patterns, and no studies have been performed examining work and recovery. The purpose of this study is to examine whether 1) inter-limb and intra-limb coordination patterns during walking and running differ between youth with ASD and neurotypical sex, age, and BMI-matched controls. Youth with ASD (N=8) and their BMI, age, and sex matched controls (N=8) performed walking at their self-selected speed and also at a standardized speed of 1.3 m/s for at least five trials each. An eight-camera motion capture system was used to collect three-dimensional (3D) kinematics for each subject. After in-lab data collection, subjects were given an accelerometer to wear to measure physical activity levels over a span of at least four days. To analyze the data, angle-angle plots were constructed for the left upper-arm and right thigh, and right shank-foot. Vector coding was used to obtain coupling angle and coupling angle variability information. No significant differences existed in coordination patterns or physical activity levels between the two groups. Upper-arm dominance and antiphase upper arm/thigh patterns were significantly related to minutes of vigorous physical activity (Rho: -0.63, p<0.01 & Rho: 0.58, p=0.02, respectively). According to these results, there are no differences in coordination between those with and without ASD.


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