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Gait Analysis of Teenagers and Young Adults Diagnosed with Autism & Severe Verbal Communication Disorders
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  • Michael J. Weiss, Fairfield University
  • Matthew F. Moran, Sacred Heart University
  • Mary E. Parker, Texas State University - San Marcos
  • John T. Foley, SUNY Cortland
Document Type
Peer-Reviewed Article
Publication Date
5-1-2013
Program
Exercise Science
Abstract

Both movement differences and disorders are common within autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These differences have wide and heterogeneous variability among different ages and sub-groups all diagnosed with ASD. Gait was studied in a more homogeneously identified group of nine teenagers and young adults who scored as “severe” in both measures of verbal communication and overall rating of Autism on the Childhood Autism Rating Scales (CARS). The ASD individuals were compared to a group of typically developing university undergraduates of similar ages. All participants walked a distance of 6-meters across a GAITRite (GR) electronic walkway for six trials. The ASD and comparison groups differed widely on many spatiotemporal aspects of gait including: step and stride length, foot positioning, cadence, velocity, step time, gait cycle time, swing time, stance time, and single and double support time. Moreover, the two groups differed in the percentage of the total gait cycle in each of these phases. The qualitative rating of “Body Use” on the CARS also indicated severe levels of unusual body movement for all of the ASD participants. These findings demonstrate that older teens and young adults with “severe” forms of Verbal Communication Impairments and Autism differ widely in their gait from typically developing individuals. The differences found in the current investigation are far more pronounced compared to previous findings with younger and/or less severely involved individuals diagnosed with ASD as compared to typically developing controls. As such, these data may be a useful anchor-point in understanding the trajectory of development of gait specifically and motor functions generally.

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Comments

This work was supported by a Sacred Heart University Research and Creativity Grant.

PMCID: PMC3657630

Copyright © 2013 Weiss, Moran, Parker and Foley. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

DOI
10.3389/fnint.2013.00033
Citation Information
Weiss, M. J., Moran, M. F., Parker, M. E., & Foley, J. T. (2013). Gait analysis of teenagers and young adults diagnosed with autism and severe verbal communication disorders. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 7, 33. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2013.00033