Praxis performance in children with high functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome

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Praxis performance in children with high functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome


Author: Ho, Yee Wan Yvonne
Title: Praxis performance in children with high functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2012
Subject: Autism in children.
Asperger's syndrome in children.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
Pages: viii, 51 leaves ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often exhibit poor motor coordination or clumsiness that affects their functional performance in daily living activities and their adjustment in mainstreaming. Studies of praxis performance in children with autism have consistently pointed out that they performed poorer in motor imitation and praxis/gesture performance as compared to children with normal development. Several recent studies showed that children with ASD and high intellectual functioning, such as those with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA), exhibit generalized praxis problem. They have poor performance in gesture to imitation, gesture to command and with tool use. There are only a few studies focus on younger children with AS/HFA, and the praxis tests used was often not the most appropriate for children. More importantly, many children with ASD and high functioning may not undergo proper motor and praxis assessment in the diagnostic and rehabilitation process, as their motor-related problem often raised less concern as compared to their social and emotional problems.
This study aimed to compare the praxis performance of children with AS/HFA with typically developing children, using three tests on Praxis from the Sensory Integration and Praxis test (SIPT). A total of 48 children between age 5 and 8 years were recruited from mainstream schools and social rehabilitation services agencies. The 24 pairs of participants in the HFA/AS and normal developing groups were matched using age and gender. Tests of Postural Praxis, Sequencing Praxis and Praxis to Verbal Command from SIPT were administered to them. t-test was used to analyze the difference in performance of praxis between these two groups of children. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to explore the relationship between age and praxis performance of these two groups of children. Result showed that HFA/AS group has significantly lower scores on all 3 praxis tests than the control group. It suggests that children with HFA/AS have significant deficits in praxis. However, there was no significant correlation between age and praxis performance in HFA/AS, which could be due to small sample size and the narrow age range of children recruited in this study. The result suggested that early and comprehensive motor assessment, including the use of formal praxis assessment, should be administered to children diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Appropriate clinical intervention and protocol should be adopted by developmental therapist in addressing the deficits in praxis.

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