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Age, Social Engagement, and Physical Activity in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Published on 03/2008
Although engagement in social interactions is one of the key diagnostic features of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), few studies have examined if social engagement related to physical activity of children with ASD. Age is another variable of interest to researchers studying behaviors, but has not been explored in physical activity and social engagement in this population. The purpose of this study was to examine the associations of age, social engagement and physical activity in children with ASD. Twenty-five children with ASD participated. Each child’s physical activity and social engagement was assessed using a uniaxial accelerometer and the direct observational assessment. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and multiple regression analysis were used to evaluate the associations and influences of selected variables. Age had somewhat positive influences on both physical activity and social engagement, and children with frequent social engagement with adults had displayed higher levels of physical activity. No evidence was found to support the notion that children with ASD become more inactive and more isolate as they age; however, limitations and directions for future research in this area are discussed.