The Influence of Over-Ground Versus Treadmill Walking on Gait Mechanics in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Treadmill (TM) walking may be a way to combat obesity and socio-behavioral barriers associated with children with Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD), though tripping-risk has not yet been assessed for this population through use of spatial-temporal gait analysis. The aim of this project/study was to examine spatial-temporal walking mechanics and lower extremity tripping descriptors between over ground (OG) and TM gait conditions in children with ASD compared to children with neurotypical development (NT). Kinematics data were obtained through tridimensional motion analysis where participants, 10 children with ASD and 9 age- and sexmatched NT controls, were outfitted with retroreflective markers on their lower extremities. Participants were instructed to walk OG over a 10-meter walkway at a self-selected pace for 12 trials, then walked on a TM at a self-selected pace for 5-minutes continuously. Variables of interest were evaluated through independent samples t-tests and paired samples t-tests to identify significant difference between groups, conditions, and limbs (α=0.05). Statistical analysis revealed groups had similar responses during the TM condition such as increased time in double limb support, decreased gait velocity, increased step width, and an increased toe clearance. However, only the ASD group displayed decreased step lengths indicating shorter steps were taken during the TM condition. Additionally, the ASD group portrayed limb differences for TC and SL. Findings suggest TM walking may not increase tripping risk in children with ASD, but rather, may elicit safer gait strategies, consistent with previous findings. TM walking implemented as a future intervention, may result in reduced obesity rates, and future researchers may investigate energy expenditure knowing that children with ASD may not experience a trip or fall despite previously associated motor deficits.
Chavez, Emily Ann, "The Influence of Over-Ground Versus Treadmill Walking on Gait Mechanics in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28026004.