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Two-Legged Hopping in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
  • Matthew F Moran, Sacred Heart University
  • John T. Foley, SUNY Cortland
  • Mary E. Parker, Texas State University - San Marcos
  • Michael J. Weiss, Fairfield University
Document Type
Peer-Reviewed Article
Publication Date
Exercise Science
Sensory processing deficits are common within autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Deficits have a heterogeneous dispersion across the spectrum and multimodal processing tasks are thought to magnify integration difficulties. Two-legged hopping in place in sync with an auditory cue (2.3, 3.0 Hz) was studied in a group of six individuals with expressive language impaired ASD (ELI-ASD) and an age-matched control group. Vertical ground reaction force data were collected and discrete Fourier transforms were utilized to determine dominant hopping cadence. Effective leg stiffness was computed through a mass-spring model representation. The ELI-ASD group were unsuccessful in matching their hopping cadence (2.21 ± 0.30 hops·s−1, 2.35 ± 0.41 hops·s−1) to either auditory cue with greater deviations at the 3.0 Hz cue. In contrast, the control group was able to match hopping cadence (2.35 ± 0.06 hops·s−1, 3.02 ± 0.10 hops·s−1) to either cue via an adjustment of effective leg stiffness. The ELI-ASD group demonstrated a varied response with an interquartile range (IQR) in excess of 0.5 hops·s−1 as compared to the control group with an IQR < 0.03 hops·s−1. Several sensorimotor mechanisms could explain the inability of participants with ELI-ASD to modulate motor output to match an external auditory cue. These results suggest that a multimodal gross motor task can (1) discriminate performance among a group of individuals with severe autism, and (2) could be a useful quantitative tool for evaluating motor performance in individuals with ASD individuals.

PMCID: PMC3607741

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

This document is protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission.

Citation Information

Moran, Matthew F., John T. Foley, Mary E. Parker, and Michael J. Weiss. "Two-legged hopping in autism spectrum disorders." Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 7.14 (2013): 1-8.