Motor functioning in autism and Asperger's disorder: Furthering current neurobehavioural and clinical definitions [ 2007 - 2009 ]

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Nicole Rinehart (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Jennifer Mcginley E/Pr Bruce Tonge E/Pr John Bradshaw Prof Robert Iansek

Brief description While it is well known that autism and Asperger's disorder are associated with social, communicative, and behavioural symptoms, it is less well known that affected individuals also have considerable movement and coordination difficulties. For example, these children often have problems with hand writing, walking, hopping, skipping, catching, and running. These skills are very important for success at school; for example, if children are unable to participate in school sports they often feel isolated and rejected from the peer group. Also, hand writing problems have a significant impact on children's academic performance. Our previous research has suggested that there may be particular patterns of motor problems that characterise individuals with autism and Asperger's disorder. Our proposed research aims to use the kinds of 3D motion analysis technology used in the movie industry to capture exactly how people affected by these conditions move and respond to the environment. This study will enable us to highlight particular parts of the brain-motor circuitry that are affected by these disorders and will also enable us to more clearly distinguish how autism is different from Asperger's disorder. Ultimately, it is hoped that our motor investigations will lead to improved assessment and interventions for these disorders.

Funding Amount $AUD 354,932.10

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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