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Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Use Inefficient Goal-Directed Whole Body Movements Compared to Typical Development.


  • Nicholas Fears University of Michigan
  • Tylan Templin Southwest Research Institute
  • Gabriela Sherrod University of Alabama-Birmingham
  • Nicoleta Bugnariu University of the Pacific
  • Rita Patterson University of North Texas Health Science Center
  • Haylie Miller University of Michigan



virtual reality, autism spectrum disorder, postural control, balance, movement, motor skills, kinematics


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have differences in their movements which impact their functional performance. Virtual-reality enables researchers to study movement in safe, engaging environments. We used motion-capture to measure how 7-13-year-old children with ASD and typically-developing (TD) children make whole-body movements in a virtual-reality task. Although children were successful, we observed differences in their movements. Children with ASD were less efficient moving to the target. Children with ASD appeared to lack a movement strategy. While TD children were more likely to overshoot near targets and undershoot far targets, children with ASD did not modulate their strategy. Using kinematic data from tasks in virtual-reality, we can begin to understand the pattern of movement challenges experienced by children with ASD.


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