For greater than a yr, researchers at The University of Texas at El Paso’s Stanley E. Fulton Gait Research & Movement Analysis Lab within the College of Health Sciences have been utilizing real-time 3D animation to research motor impairments in youngsters who’ve autism spectrum dysfunction (ASD). Their intention is to grasp how youngsters with autism can study motor abilities, in order that they’ll obtain efficient therapies.
The outcomes of their examine, titled “Children With Autism Exhibit More Individualized Responses to Live Animation Biofeedback Than Do Typically Developing Children,” have been lately revealed within the journal of Perceptual and Motor Skills. The paper’s launch coincides with National Autism Awareness Month in April.
“The greatest takeaway from this study is that when teaching or coaching new movements to an individual with autism, the teacher or coach needs to understand the individual with autism’s specific motor learning characteristics,” mentioned Jeffrey Eggleston, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology and Gait lab director. He is the examine’s lead writer. “They need to look specifically at each child’s needs because each child is different.”
The examine’s different authors embrace Alyssa N. Olivas, a pupil within the doctoral biomedical engineering program; Heather R. Vanderhoof and Emily A. Chavez, college students within the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (IHS) doctoral program; Carla Alvarado, M.D., board licensed psychiatrist; and Jason B. Boyle, Ph.D., affiliate professor and interim chair of Kinesiology at UTEP.
More than 80% of kids with ASD have gross motor abilities points, reminiscent of issues with steadiness and coordination, which might intrude with their communication and social interactions.
The 18-month UTEP examine included dwell animation biofeedback to show 15 youngsters who’ve ASD and have been between the ages of 8 and 17 how one can do a squat, a power train that works a number of muscle teams within the physique’s decrease extremities.
Researchers in contrast their motion patterns to youngsters with out the dysfunction. They discovered that youngsters with ASD displayed extremely individualized responses to the dwell animation biofeedback, far more so than youngsters with typical growth, Eggleston mentioned.
In the lab, youngsters had 1-inch cubes referred to as inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors strapped to their pelvis, thighs, decrease legs and ft. They adopted an animation mannequin on a pc display, which confirmed them how one can squat. The youngsters would then attempt to carry out the squat with out trying on the animation.
IMU sensors captured the motion of the kid’s decrease extremities. The information was relayed to a pc graphics program through Bluetooth, which was transposed right into a skeletal animation of the kid squatting after which standing again up on the pc display.
The examine, which came about earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, was funded by means of a virtually $15,000 grant from the J. Edward and Helen M. C. Stern Foundation and UTEP’s kinesiology division.