Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Physical Activity, Distressed Behavior, and Time-on-task in a Child with Autism

Rawlins, Knolan C (2009) Physical Activity, Distressed Behavior, and Time-on-task in a Child with Autism. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (276kB) | Preview


Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is usually diagnosed between the ages of two and three years (2-4). The term autism refers to not one disorder but a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is described as impairment in one or more of the following three categories: reciprocal social interaction, communication, and specific pattern of behaviors, interest, and activities. For any of these impairments, the child has the potential to display distressed behaviors (5). Distressed behaviors can include verbal outburst, self stimulatory behaviors, aggression, etc. and various other behaviors of concerns. Distressed behaviors, such as hand flapping, appear to form a functional response to stimuli this response often negatively impacts others. These behaviors are more likely among persons who are receiving aversive stimulation, such as having to engage in non preferred academic task. (5). Of concern in this paper is can the use of physical activity decrease distressed behavior. The literature demonstrates that increasing physical activity can has also demonstrated decreased distressed behaviors; unfortunately physical education programs have been decreasing in many public schools (11). Along with academic and behavioral benefits, there is a well established link between physical activity and positive health outcomes. A large part of this risk is associated with physical inactivity. The majority of literature regarding physical activity involves children who are typically developing. This study will apply these findings to a student with Autism. This research will introduce three ten minute bouts of noncontingent physical activity per day will decrease distressed behavior and increase time-on-task. A single subject design was utilized to observe a student with autism in a classroom setting. It was hypothesized that a correlation exists between physical activity, distressed behavior, and time-on-task. During this study a wealth of data were collected regarding the impact of physical activity on distressed behaviors and time-on-task. The Fischer exact probability test was significance (p =.025); from base line through intervention the subject decreased the number of disruptive behaviors. This study demonstrated that physical activity should be implemented amongst students with Autism to decrease distressed behaviors for a single subject.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rawlins, Knolan Ckcr8@pitt.eduKCR8
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGallagher, Jeregal@pitt.eduGAL
Committee MemberDuquin, Mary
Committee MemberWolf, Paula
Committee MemberHelsel, William J
Date: 2 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 14 January 2009
Approval Date: 2 June 2009
Submission Date: 28 April 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health, Physical, Recreational Education
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autism; physical activity
Other ID:, etd-04282009-155701
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:43
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item