Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Jin Bo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Claudia Drossel, Ph.D., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Waltz, Ph.D., Ph.D.


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display a range of motor delays and deficits that may contribute to ASD symptoms, including social and communicative skills and repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Limited motor abilities may result in a less physically active lifestyle and engagement in more sedentary behavior. Few studies have examined the effects of physical activity based motor interventions on motor skills. Yoga interventions can be used to teach gross motor skills by providing explicit instruction using behavioral principles. Several studies suggest that yoga may also improve social and communicative skills and behavior problems; however, these studies have not systematically measured these variables. The present study evaluated the effects of a yoga intervention on motor skills, social and communicative skills, and behavior problems. A non-concurrent multiple baseline design was utilized to systematically evaluate the effects of a yoga intervention on the motor skills of four children with ASD between the ages of 10 and 14. Intervention targets were individualized for each participant and included participant-specific instruction and prompting. Outcomes related to objective motor assessment performance, pose duration, pose performance, and spine alignment varied across participants. Some participants displayed increased pose duration and improved pose performance for poses in which instruction was provided. The present study suggests that yoga may be a socially acceptable physical activity that can be used to teach yoga-related motor skills.

Included in

Psychology Commons