Date of Award
Bachelor of Scicnce (Psychology) Honours
School of Psychology and Social Sciences
Computing, Health and Science
Professor Lynne Cohen
Associate Professor Julie Ann Pooley
The current study was designed to partially extend previous research (Nicholson, Kehle, Bray, & Heest, 2011; Rosenthal-Malek & Mitchell, 1997) by examining the effects of physical activity on the 1) attention span and 2) health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children in Singapore. Male participants (N = 12) aged 2-6 years, diagnosed with ASD were randomly assigned to either a physical activity (experimental) or non-physical activity group (control). In the physical activity group, participants were administered 8 tri-cycling sessions; together, both groups of participants were measured for their attention span, and their parents completed the HRQoL questionnaires. The results revealed that as the exercise session increases, participants in the physical activity group demonstrated increasingly longer duration of attention span compared to the control group. These results further extended the findings of Nicholson et al. (2011) and Rosenthal-Malek and Mitchell (1997) that physical activity enhances cognition of ASD children. However, the results do not support the effects of physical activity on the overall HRQoL and instead revealed the improvement on the social functioning subscale. In general, these results suggested the beneficial effects of physical activity on ASD children and its incorporation into the early intervention should be recommended.
Tan, W. (2011). Physical activity: Its implication on attention span and quality of life in children with autism spectrum disorder. Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses_hons/20