Video Modeling Motor Skill Performances: An Eye-Tracking Analysis of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Judge, Joann, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Kelly, Luke, Cu-Kinesiology, University of Virginia
Block, Martin, Department of Kinesiology, University of Virginia
Hilton, Jane, Cu-Human Svcs, University of Virginia
Whaley, Diane, Cu-Leadshp Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia
Motor competence provides young children the opportunity to move, explore, and interact with their environment. Furthermore, it provides young children the opportunity to build on more complex motor skills and movement patterns (Haywood & Getchell, 2014; Payne & Isaacs, 2002). However, studies have shown deficits and delays in the motor development of children with autism. Therefore, it is necessary to identify evidence-based practices and instructional strategies to support the motor development of children with autism.
One evidence-based practice shown to be effective in teaching children with autism is video modeling (Wong et al., 2014). Deeply rooted in the works of Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (1986, 1977), numerous studies have shown video modeling to be an effective practice in teaching behavioral functioning, social communication skills, and functional skills (Bellini & Akullian, 2007). However, very few studies have examined the effects of video modeling in teaching motor skills to children with autism.
The purpose of this study was to examine the visual attention patterns of children with autism as they observed video-modeled demonstrations of motor skill performances. Using eye-tracking technology, quantitative data were collected on three eye-tracking metrics: (a) time to first fixation, (b) total visit duration, and (c) visit count. This study also examined the effects of attentional highlighting motor skill performances. Eye-tracking research has shown children with autism to have atypical patterns of visual attention (Klin, Jones, Schultz, Volkmar, & Cohen, 2002).
Thirty-five males, ages 8-12 years participated in the study. Fourteen participants were diagnosed with autism and 21 participants were identified as typically developing children. All participants met the following inclusion criteria: (a) male, (b) ages 8-12 years, (c) understood verbal instruction, (d) had the visual acuity to watch a computer monitor at a distance of 20 inches, (e) successfully completed a 5-point eye-tracking calibration procedure, (f) maintained proper body positioning during the eye-tracking procedure, and (g) visually attended to a 2-minute video of motor skill performances. Data were collected during one 30-minute visit to a university-based eye-tracking lab.
The findings of this investigation indicated no statistically significant differences in the visual attention patterns of children with autism (ASD) compared to typically developing children (TD). However, major findings from the study include the following: One, with regard to time to first fixation, results indicated that children with autism took longer to attend the visual stimuli. This finding appeared in both the non-highlighted and highlighted conditions and across all four motor skill performances. Two, results indicated that children with autism visually attended to the AOIs for a shorter duration than typically developing children. This finding occurred in both the non-highlighted and highlighted conditions and across the four motor skill performances. Three, with regard to attentional highlighting, children with autism in the highlighted condition had faster times to first fixation than children with autism in the non-highlighted condition. Four, attentional highlighting increased total visit duration to the Action AOIs for children with autism. Five, an overall finding showed that both children with autism and typically developing children to have similar patterns of visual attention to the AOIs (e.g., both the ASD and TD groups attended to the Action AOI for the longest period of time, followed by the Head AOI, and then the Cone AOI). These findings are to be interpreted with caution, as future research is needed.
Understanding the visual attention patterns of children with autism could lead to more innovative ideas in the design, creation, and presentation of video-modeled motor skill performances. The aim of this study was to provide a foundation for future research to support the motor development of children with autism, so they can live a healthy and physically active lifestyle.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
autism spectrum disorder, motor skill development, video modeling, and , eye-tracking technology
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