Fort Worth, TX
Improving motor performance in children with ASD
Andrew M. Colombo-Dougovito, PhD, CAPE
University of North Texas
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face unique challenges in the physical education setting. In addition to stereotypic behaviors, children with ASD also demonstrate motor patterns much different than peers. Dynamic systems theory (DST) provides a foundation to build impactful instruction for children with ASD. DST posits that disability is not a barrier to be overcome, but a “constraint” that can influence or dissuade certain movements. Through task modifications, motor performance can be positively influenced into a more mature motor pattern. Few motor interventions for children with ASD have taken motor skills into consideration; this approach is one of a handful and has shown positive support for building motor skills in children with ASD. Utilizing Dynamic Systems Theory, participants will learn practical strategies to (a) break skills into teachable components, and (b) present simple task modifications/environmental cues to help students with ASD understand how to perform each component correctly. Through this strategy, participants will be more confident in their approach to working with and have greater success in building motor skills of children with ASD.