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ZáNean McClain, Michaela A. Schenkelberg, and Daniel W. Tindall

Edited by Phil Esposito

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Michaela A. Schenkelberg, ZáNean McClain, Kiley Tyler, and Daniel W. Tindall

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Aaron Moffett, Michaela A. Schenkelberg, and Daniel W. Tindall

Edited by Phil Esposito

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Michaela A. Schenkelberg, Richard R. Rosenkranz, George A. Milliken, and David A. Dzewaltowski


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may be at greater risk for not meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines than neurotypical children (NT). The purpose of this study was to explore setting (free play versus organized) and social group composition influences on PA of children with ASD during summer camp.


Data were collected on 6 ASD and 6 NT boys (aged 5 to 6 years) attending an inclusive summer camp. During free play and organized activity, research assistants observed the camp’s social environment and children’s PA using a modified version of the Observational System for Recording Physical Activity of Children—Preschool version.


In free play, children with ASD spent significantly less time in Moderate-Vigorous PA (MVPA) while with a peer (1.2%), compared with a peer group (11.5%) or alone (13.2%). They demonstrated significantly more Light-Moderate-Vigorous PA (LMVPA) while in a solitary social context (68.2%) compared with alone with an adult (25.8%), alone with a peer (34.8%), or with a peer group (28.2%). No significant differences were noted during organized activity.


Features of the social environment may influence PA levels of children with ASD. Specifically, certain social group contexts may be more PA-promoting than others depending on the setting.

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Haixia Guo, Michaela A. Schenkelberg, Jennifer R. O’Neill, Marsha Dowda, and Russell R. Pate

Purpose: To determine if weight status modifies the relationship between motor skill (MS) performance and physical activity (PA) in preschoolers. Methods: Preschoolers (N = 227, age 3–5 y) were recruited from 22 preschools. Preschoolers’ MS (locomotor, object control, and total MS) were assessed with the Children’s Activity and Movement in Preschool Study MS protocol. PA was measured by accelerometry. Mixed linear models were used to examine the relationship of MS performance and body mass index (BMI) z score to PA. Models were adjusted for age, race, sex, and parent education, with preschool as a random effect. Results: There was a significant correlation between MS performance and PA (r = .14–.17, P < .05). A significant interaction was observed between BMI z score and object control, and between BMI z score and total MS score on PA (P = .03). Preschoolers with higher BMI z scores and high object control scores engaged in significantly (P = .03) more PA than preschoolers with lower BMI z scores and high object control scores (PA = 15.04 min/h and 13.54 min/h, respectively). Similarly, preschoolers with higher BMI z scores and high total MS scores spent significantly (P = .01) more time in PA compared with those with lower BMI z scores and high total MS scores (PA = 15.65 min/h and 13.91 min/h, respectively). Conclusion: Preschool children’s MS performance is positively correlated with PA, and BMI z score modified the relationship between MS performance and PA.

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ZáNean McClain, E. Andrew Pitchford, E. Kipling Webster, Michaela A. Schenkelberg, and Jill Pawlowski