Research Article  |   January 2014
Effects of Exergaming on Executive Function and Motor Skills in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study
Author Affiliations
  • Claudia List Hilton, PhD, MBA, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555; clhilton@utmb.edu
  • Kristina Cumpata, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Children’s Medical Center, Dallas, TX
  • Cheryl Klohr, OTD, OTR/L, is Research Clinician, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
  • Shannon Gaetke, OTD, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Pediatric Occupational Therapist Coastal Therapy Services, Charleston, SC
  • Amanda Artner, MSOT, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Smile Pediatric Therapy, Los Angeles
  • Hailey Johnson, MSOT, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Anderson Hospital, Maryville, IL
  • Sarah Dobbs, MSOT, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, St. Joseph Medical Center, Kansas City, MO
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   January 2014
Effects of Exergaming on Executive Function and Motor Skills in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2014, Vol. 68, 57-65. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.008664
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2014, Vol. 68, 57-65. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.008664
Abstract

Executive function (EF) and motor deficits have consistently been documented in studies of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We investigated the effects of a pilot 30-session Makoto arena training intervention, a light and sound speed-based exergame, on response speed, EF, and motor skills in school-aged children with ASD. Strong correlations were seen between certain EF and motor scores, suggesting a relationship between the two constructs. Participants increased their average reaction speed (effect size = 1.18). Significant improvement was seen in the EF areas of working memory and metacognition and the motor area of strength and agility. Findings suggest that use of exergaming, specifically the Makoto arena, has the potential to be a valuable addition to standard intervention for children with ASD who have motor and EF impairments.