Does playing a sports active video game improve object control skills of children with autism spectrum disorder?

Jacqueline Edwards, Sarah Jeffrey, Tamara May, Nicole J. Rinehart, Lisa M. Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background Active video games (AVGs) encourage whole body movements to interact or control the gaming system, allowing the opportunity for skill development. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show decreased fundamental movement skills in comparison with their typically developing (TD) peers and might benefit from this approach. This pilot study investigates whether playing sports AVGs can increase the actual and perceived object control (OC) skills of 11 children with ASD aged 6–10 years in comparison to 19 TD children of a similar age. Feasibility was a secondary aim. Methods Actual (Test of Gross Motor Development) and perceived OC skills (Pictorial Scale of Perceived Movement Skill Competence for Young Children) were assessed before and after the intervention (6 × 45 min). Results Actual skill scores were not improved in either group. The ASD group improved in perceived skill. All children completed the required dose and parents reported the intervention was feasible. Conclusion The use of AVGs as a play-based intervention may not provide enough opportunity for children to perform the correct movement patterns to influence skill. However, play of such games may influence perceptions of skill ability in children with ASD, which could improve motivation to participate in physical activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sport and Health Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Child
  • Exergaming
  • Fundamental movement skills
  • Physical self-perception
  • Xbox

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