This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Effects of visual supports on the performance of the Test of Gross Motor Development (Second Edition) by children with autism spectrum disorder




Breslin, Casey

Type of Degree





Daily physical education should be included as a direct service in the individualized education plan of each child with a documented disability as mandated by PL 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability marked by the exhibition of repetitive and restrictive stereotypic behaviors as well as deficits and deficiencies in communication and social interaction that is increasing in prevalence. At present, ASD can be treated effectively only through educational interventions. Because education is based on the tenet that students are accurately assessed and placed in lessons appropriate for their skill level, the assessments used to place students should be presented in a format that is understood by these students. Children with ASD process information differently than neurotypical children. They have relative strengths in processing visual information compared to auditory information, and should therefore be assessed in a way that accommodates these strengths. Presently, the Test of Gross Motor Development (Second Edition; TGMD-2) is the most widely used physical education assessment in the United States, but it does not accommodate these strengths. The TGMD-2 utilizes verbal instructions and physical demonstrations to administer the assessment. Therefore, this study sought to examine the effects of incorporating visual supports on TGMD-2 performance. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of visual supports on the performance of the TGMD-2 by children with ASD. Participants (N= 22) received three different protocols of the TGMD-2 (traditional protocol, picture task card protocol, and picture activity schedule protocol). Gross motor quotient scores on the TGMD-2 and the percentage of time engaged in on-task behavior for each protocol were measured and statistically analyzed using two within-subjects repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVA). Results indicated statistically significant differences between protocols for gross motor quotient scores, F(2,21)= 6.655, p = .003, while no significant differences were found between protocols for the percentage of time engaged in on task behavior F(2,21) = .425, p = .657. Post hoc tests for the analysis of gross motor quotient scores indicated that the picture task card condition produced significantly higher scores (p= .008) than the traditional protocol. A multivariate ANOVA was then employed using Wilks’ criterion to assess differences on individual items of the TGMD-2. The analysis yielded nonsignificant results, F(24,58) = .613, p = .707, indicating that performance was similar for all items on the TGMD-2. In conclusion, higher gross motor quotient scores on the TGMD-2 by children with ASD can be elicited using the picture task card protocol.