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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) typically demonstrate deficits in gross motor skills such as the overhand throw. It has not been determined whether such deficits persist into adulthood. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the kinematics and developmental level of overhand throws among young adults with and without ASD. Three-dimensional motion-capture data were collected during overhand throwing trials performed by 20 college students (10 students with ASD). Individuals with ASD demonstrated similar throw duration, stride length, and step width but a longer acceleration phase and slower ball velocity than individuals without ASD. Young adults with ASD also performed the overhand throw with less developmental proficiency than those without ASD. Specifically, individuals with ASD exhibited developmental deficits in the backswing and composite throwing score. Motor skill interventions for individuals with ASD should address throwing skills, with a particular focus on the preparatory phase of the overhand throw.
Todd and Jarvis are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA, USA. Ahrold is with California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA, USA, and Mount St. Mary’s University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Mache is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University, Chico, Chico, CA, USA.