Comparing direct and technology-based praise statements to increase physical activity for students with autism spectrum disorder
There are many benefits to engaging in regular physical activity such as increased quality of life and decreased levels of obesity. However, individuals with autism spectrum disorder often do not engage in healthy levels of physical activity. Low motivation, poor motor skills, and behavioral challenges combine to make engaging in regular physical activity a challenge. The purpose of this study was to determine whether direct (i.e., in-person) praise statements or technology-based praise statements were more effective in increasing engagement in physical activity for secondary students with autism spectrum disorder. Participants engaged in aerobic activity while receiving praise statements either directly or through technology. Results were mixed for participants. Two of the three participants performed better and preferred the technology-based condition, while one participant excelled in and preferred the direct condition. The two participants who performed better in the technology-based condition were able to maintain performance levels during the fading conditions and generalize their performance to a new setting. The participant who performed better in the direct condition was unable to maintain performance levels during fading conditions or generalize performance to a new setting.
Taber Doughty, Purdue University.
Physical education|Special education|Secondary education|Educational technology
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