purpose of this experimental study was to investigate the effects of a Systematic
Manipulative Skills Motor Activity (SMSMA) Programme on the Eye-Hand coordination
of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 10 children aged between 5
years to 7 years with moderate level of ASD were selected using the
non-probability based convenience sampling technique. These children underwent a
6 week SMSMA Programme designed by the Researcher for 45mins, 5 days a week.
The Eye-Hand coordination of these children was assessed using a Modified Minnesota
Manual Dexterity (MMMD) assessment instrument. Descriptive statistics showed an
increase in the mean performance from (523.25 sec, ±8.61) to (327.10 sec, ±5.46).
Paired sample ‘t’ test was used to compare the change in performance which showed
that the calculated ‘t’ value (70.275) was significant at 0.05 level of
significance (p=0.000). Hence it was concluded that a 6 week SMSMA programme
has a significant effect on the Eye-Hand coordination of children with ASD.
According to the American
Psychiatric Association (2013), presence of restricted or repetitive behaviours
and impaired social-communication are the basic characteristics of Autism
Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Recent studies also suggest deficits in gross and fine
motor skills of children with ASD (Miyahara et al., 1997; Wing, 1981; Ming et
al., 2007; Greenspan and Wieder, 1997; Provost et al., 2007; Fournier et al.,
2010) which include underdeveloped fundamental motor control (Adrien et al.,
1993; Jansiewicz et al., 2006; Teitelbaum et al., 1998), inability to perform
movements skilfully (Mostofky et al., 2006; Jones and Prior, 1985), improper
motor learning patterns (Hughes, 1996; Haswell et al., 2009), and impaired Eye-Hand
coordination and hand grasping movements (Noterdaeme et al., 2002; Mari et al.,
2003). Even now these underdeveloped motor skills are considered to be symptoms
of ASD (Ming et al., 2007) and are considered to hinder the development of
adaptive skills (Baranek et al., 2005; Leary and Hill, 1996; Bauman, 1992;
Mostofsky et al., 2006). Underdeveloped motor skills may not only affect the
development of basic daily motor activities (such as eating with a spoon), but
also social behaviour, by hindering the child’s participation in other
activities that are age-appropriate (team games).
motor skills form the base for the efficiency in later movements and physical
skills in games and sports (Gallahue, 1982; Gabbard, 2000; Haywood and
Getchell, 2002; Payne and Isaacs, 2002; Seefeldt, 1982). A mastery of
fundamental motor skills is crucial in the optimum development of a child (Gallahue,
1982; Kogan, 1982; Seefeldt, 1980), and these skills are observed and enhanced
at the elementary school level (Ulrich, 2000). It is assumed that to be able to
perform complex skills at a later stage, it is important that children develop
fundamental gross motor skills to a certain proficiency at the elementary
school level (Seefeldt, 1982).
refers to the capacity of what the brain has to understand and interpret after
what the eyes have seen (Gardner, 1986). Eye-Hand coordination is known as the
ability to recognise, interpret and respond to visual stimulants based on
previous experiences. It is an output in the form of a physical skill after the
individuals understanding and interpreting the visual stimulus (Frostig, 1964).
The combination of basic visual functions and fundamental gross motor skills
and Eye-Hand coordination allows us to perform many daily activities (Chaikin
and Downing-Baum, 1997; Erhardt and Duckman, 2005; Van Waelvelde et al., 2004).
Considering impaired motor
abilities and perceptual abilities, literature states that both are related (Hulme
et al., 1982; Lord and Hulme, 1987; Lord and Hulme, 1988; Sigmundsson et al.,
2003; Wilson and McKenzie, 1998). While many studies have been conducted to
study the impaired motor skills of children (Hulme et al., 1982; Lord and
Hulme, 1988; Parush et al., 1998; Schoemaker et al., 2001) Eye-Hand coordination
is rarely an object of investigation considering the development of motor
abilities of children with ASD. Wilson (2002) suggests that cognitive
functioning should be considered while working on adapted behaviour. This may
be interpreted as complex adaptive behaviours like those of hands may be
closely related to cognitive functioning than compared to simple ones like
walking. Eye-Hand coordination is a complex aspect of fundamental motor
activities that needs to be explored while studying the development of motor
abilities of children with ASD (David et al., 2012). The ability to recognise
the pattern of the visual stimulus and execute the action is an important
aspect towards achieving a goal integrated in the environment (Schmitz et al.,
2003). The effect of a systematic manipulative skills motor activity programme
on the Eye-Hand coordination of children with ASD was investigated in this
study. The researcher is of the opinion that Eye-Hand coordination may provide
a base for further motor development of children with ASD. As such, enhancement
in the Eye-Hand coordination may affect how children with ASD play, explore,
use tools, and engage socially.
thorough review of literature in the concerned area, various aspects of motor
development of children were analysed based on priority. Considering these
aspects, the researcher identified the variables and formulated the research
problem. A Systematic Manipulative Skills Motor Activity Programme was
identified as the Independent variable and the Eye-Hand coordination of
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder was identified as the Dependant
the assessment of the Eye-Hand coordination of children with ASD, the
“Minnesota Manual Dexterity Test” was modified by the researcher to measure the
Eye-Hand coordination of the subjects. The validity of the modified assessment
tool was established by experts in the related field.
The modified assessment instrument
was based on 2 subtests:- a. Dominant hand – placing test and, b. Non-dominant
hand – placing test. Each subject was given 2 attempts for each subtest and the
final score was measured to be the total of the average time taken to complete both
attempts of both the subtests.
The One group Pre-test Post-test
research design was adopted by the researcher for this experimental study. The
subjects were required to undergo the assessment of their Eye-Hand coordination
both before and after the implementation of the programme.
All the children with ASD, aged
between 5 years to 7 years from the city of Pune were considered to be the
population for the study, of which 10 were selected as sample for the study
using the non-probability
based convenience sampling technique.
Convenience sampling technique, for
sample selection was adopted by the researcher as he had to consider the level
of ASD of each child, and children with only moderate level of ASD were
selected for the study.
The “Minnesota Manual Dexterity Test” which is used to measure the Eye-Hand coordination
and arm-hand dexterity was modified by the researcher. The test
comprises of 5 subtests which include the Placing Test, Turning Test,
Displacing Test, One-hand Turning and Placing Test and the Two-Hand Turning and
Placing Test. 4 attempts are to be given
and the time in seconds is recorded on the score sheet for each attempt. The
final scoring is interpreted by the total seconds for all the attempts. For
each test all disks must be fully inserted and inserted in the proper hole. The
subject performs all tests from a standing position.
the eye-hand coordination of children with ASD was to be measured, the
instrument was modified to suit the main objective considering the physical and
intellectual ability of the subjects. The modification now comprised of only 2
subtests that included Dominant hand Placing Test and Non-Dominant hand Placing
Test. 2 attempts instead of 4 was to be given for each subtest, as less than 2
would be inadequate and more than 2 may cause the cognitive functioning to tire.
The final scoring is to be interpreted as the total of the average time taken
for completing both the attempts of both the subtests which was measured in
of the modified instrument was established by three experts from the field of
Physical Education and two experts from the field of Child Psychological Development.
Before implementing the programme
the Eye-Hand coordination of the subjects was measured. The Systematic
Manipulative Skills Motor Activity programme designed by the researcher was
then implemented for a period of 6 weeks, 5 days a week for 45min. The Eye-Hand
coordination of the subjects was measured again after the implementation of the
programme and the collected data was analysed to study the change in
The Eye-hand coordination of 10
children with moderate ASD was assessed before and after the implementation of
a Systematic Manipulative Skills Motor Activity programme. The mean performance
of the Pre-test was 523.25 sec. (± 8.61) whereas that of Post-test was 327.10
sec (± 5.46).
The effect of the programme was
found to be significant as an increase in the performance was seen, the mean
difference of 196.15 sec (± 8.83) for degree of freedom 9 the calculated ‘t’
value (70.257) is significant at 0.05 level of significance (p=0.000).
purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a Systematic Manipulative
Skills Motor Activity programme on the Eye-Hand coordination of children with Autism
Spectrum Disorder. The programme was designed based on manipulative skills
motor activities that involved tossing, catching, throwing, striking, dribbling
with hands; activities that involved more use of hands and visual stimulus.
Strong evidences are
available from motor development, motor planning, motor execution and motor
correction that movement in children with ASD in impaired. As they grow, impaired
motor planning, delays in initiating movement and inefficiency in performing
complex motor tasks are seen in children with ASD (Papadopoulos et al., 2012; Dowd
et al., 2012; Hughes, 1996; Glazebrook et al., 2008). These children are not
able to use on-going visual feedback, as well as information from a previous
movement to plan subsequent movements more effectively (David et al., 2009;
2012; Schmitz et al., 2003).
In this study, a
systematic manipulative skills motor activity programme was implemented with an
aim to develop the Eye-Hand coordination at a low level, and the therapeutic
effects were examined. The findings show that the programme had a positive
influence on the Eye-Hand coordination.
It should be considered that a motor
activity programme based on manipulative skills could be used as a clinical
method for the functional development of Eye-Hand coordination which may form a
base for further motor development in children with ASD. Rehabilitation
programs for autistic children should be age appropriate and match their functional
condition (Parush et al., 1998). A systematic study over a long term is
required for establishing the results of this study.
From this experimental study it was
concluded that a 6 week Systematic Manipulative Skills Motor Activity Programme
has a significant effect on the Eye-Hand coordination of children with Autism