Examination of Gait Parameters during Perturbed Over-Ground Walking In Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Research in Developmental Disabilities



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Background Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are school-aged and typically carry a backpack. It is important to understand how this task affects walking. Weighted vests (WVs) often prescribed to mitigate behavioral effects of ASD. The effects of backpack and WV walking have not been examined in children with ASD. Aims To quantify differences in lower extremity mechanics in children with ASD during WV and backpack walking. Methods Eight male participants completed 15 trials in three conditions: body mass, and carrying or wearing a backpack or WV with 15% added body mass. Three-dimensional kinematic data were collected and normalized to 100% of the gait cycle. The Model Statistic was utilized to test for bilateral asymmetries between the lower extremity joints at all points along the gait cycle. Results Analysis revealed similar numbers of significant asymmetries in hip (71.0, 70.4, 60.6), knee (68.4, 71.5, 74.6), and ankle (64.1, 68.9, 68.4) for unloaded, backpack, and WV, respectively. Conclusion Participants exhibited individualized kinematic symmetry-responses to the loaded conditions compared to the unloaded condition. These findings suggest that 15% body mass backpack or WV does not affect gait symmetry in children with ASD.


Autism spectrum disorder; Backpacks; Load carriage; Locomotion; Pediatrics; Weighted vests


Biomechanics | Kinesiology | Motor Control

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