A Comparative Assessement of Discrete and Reciprocal Design in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Jallycia Rene Pearson, University of Texas at El Paso


Although typically diagnosed through social impairment and repetitive stereotypical behavior, recent work in the last decade has shown motor irregularities across the autism spectrum. With regard to upper extremity coordination, studies have agreed that children on the Autism spectrum present overall decreased performance compared to their neurotypical peers but fail to find commonality on the locus of this error. For example, studies have highlighted reaction time, arm trajectory as well as corrective sub-movements as areas in need of improvement. One possible reason for the conflicting results could be related to the nature of the task employed, e.g. discrete vs reciprocal tasks. Studies have shown that, although simple in comparison, the kinematic composition of goal directed movement under these two conditions varies greatly in the demand of the processing load. Given this, the purpose of the following thesis will be to compare the kinematic composition of discrete and reciprocal aiming in children diagnosed with high functioning autism to their neurotypical peers. Both populations of children (6-12 yrs. old) will be asked to perform a mixture of single (discrete) and continuous (reciprocal) movements between defined target areas. Target distance and width manipulations will provide three index of difficulty values (3, 4, &5) for kinematic assessments. Variables of interest will be: Total movement time, Movement time, peak velocity, % time to peak velocity and end point accuracy.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Pearson, Jallycia Rene, "A Comparative Assessement of Discrete and Reciprocal Design in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28001753.