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Title:A longitudinal analysis of the relations between social, communication, and motor skills among students with autism
Author(s):Cheung, W. Catherine
Director of Research:Xia, Yan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Meadan-Kaplansky, Hedda
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ostrosky, Michaelene M; McBride, Brent A
Department / Program:Special Education
Discipline:Special Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most prominent and widely recognized condition. The prevalence has increased drastically to 1 in 54 children, and with students demonstrating the largest increase. Many students with ASD in elementary and middle schools have difficulties engaging with their classroom environments and forming friendships (Mendelson et al., 2016). Such difficulties are mostly affected by deficits or delays in social and communication skills. Neuroscience researchers have established clear links between social, communication, and motor skills (Hellendoorn et al., 2015). However, there is limited research examining the correlation among social, communication, and motor skills of students in elementary and middle schools, in general, and of students with ASD specifically. Additionally, to date no attempts have been made to explore the mediating role of motor skills between social and communication skills. Data on students with ASD from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS, 2000) data set were analyzed to explore these gaps in the literature. This study utilized an autoregressive model based on structural equational modeling (SEM). Descriptive and SEM analyses were conducted using R 3.0.1. Results show that (a) motor skills mediate the relation between communication and social skills in elementary school, but not in middle school, (b) communication, motor, and social skills at T1 (i.e., elementary school; mean age 8 years) demonstrate a significant contribution to the same skills at T2 (elementary school; mean age 9 years), but skills at T2 are not a significant contributor to the corresponding skills at T3 (i.e., middle school; mean age 11 years), and (c) there are no significant longitudinal relations among communication, motor, and social skills between T2 and T3. These findings indicate that increased motor skills may result in improvements in social skills for students with ASD in elementary school.
Issue Date:2020-10-22
Rights Information:NA
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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