Motor Competence and Social Function in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Motor and social competence are delayed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Social interaction and functional physical capacity play an important role for developing peer relationships in school settings such as gym, playground, and classroom. Research on the delayed motor competence in relationship to poor social interaction in children with ASD is limited. The purpose of the study was to examine motor competence and social skills functioning in children with ASD. A sample of 23 children diagnosed with ASD participated in the study. Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-II (BOT-2) was used to examine children’s motor competence and Autism Social Skill Profile (ASSP) survey was given to parents to assess children’s social skills functioning. The descriptive analysis revealed that 87% of the children with ASD were classified as below average or well below average category in BOT-2 suggesting the children with ASD were delayed in motor competence. In addition, 52% of the children were ranked at or below 50th percentile on the ASSP indicating that they had poor social skill functioning. A significant positive correlation was found between BOT-2 and ASSP revealed that children with ASD who performed poorly in BOT-2 also scored low in ASSP. These findings suggest that including fine and gross motor skills in the treatment interventions for children with ASD may improve their health-related wellbeing and maintain positive socialization.