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Video Modeling to Teach Social-Game Behaviors

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

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

Edited by Phil Esposito

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

Edited by Phil Esposito

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Social Environmental Influences on Physical Activity of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

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

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How Does the Relationship Between Motor Skill Performance and Body Mass Index Impact Physical Activity in Preschool Children?

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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A Protocol for a Local Community Monitoring and Feedback System for Physical Activity in Organized Group Settings for Children

Ann M. Essay, Michaela A. Schenkelberg, Mary J. Von Seggern, Marisa S. Rosen, Chelsey R. Schlechter, Richard R. Rosenkranz, and David A. Dzewaltowski

Background: Communities are wellness landscapes of geospatially and temporally bound settings where children spend their time. Improving population physical activity (PA) requires investigating available community settings for children, such as classrooms and sport teams, and the dynamic social interactions producing PA. This protocol describes a multiscale community wellness landscape monitoring and feedback system of adult-led organized group settings and PA outcomes for children. Methods: The data system assessed organized groups for third- through sixth-grade children in 2 rural communities within seasons (fall 2018–2019). Within each season, groups were identified, sampled, and recruited. Sampled group meetings were assessed for children’s PA (accelerometry) and meeting routines (video observation). A data processing protocol time-segmented data into meetings and meeting routines into smaller units (sessions). A purpose code was assigned to each meeting (eg, classroom, sport) and session (eg, academic, PA). Group accelerometer data were paired with the coded segments. Multiscale metrics (season, meeting, and session) were generated and provided to the communities in tailored reports. Results: A total of 94 groups were recruited, and 73 groups with 1302 participants were included in the data system. Data were collected from 213 meetings and 844 sessions. Most participants (83.1%) consented to link their accelerometer data with demographic data from school enrollment records. Conclusions: The community data system identified available organized group settings for children and collected video and PA data from these settings. Incorporating setting data into local data systems provides detailed accounts of whole-of-community PA social systems to inform population health improvement efforts.