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Date of Award

12-1986

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Health Sciences (MSc)

Department

Health Care Practice

Supervisor

Paul Stratford

Abstract

The manner by which a person walks provides information about the functioning of the nervous system. Information of this type may be useful in the determination of the etiology(s) and management of autism. The primary purpose of this pilot study was to determine whether a difference existed between a group of four adolescent males with autism and a group of three normal male adolescents in 17 parameters of gait studied. A secondary purpose of the inquiry was to test a method of collecting and extracting data on temporal-spacial, linear, angular and qualitative gait parameters through the use of a videotaping/data extraction technique. Markers were placed on specific sites on the subjects' body to enable the measurement of joint angles. The subjects were then video taped while they walked up and down a walkway for a total of six times. Data was extracted from the videotape for 15 of the parameters studied. A footprint paper technique was used to collect data on two gait parameters. All data was extracted from the videotape by the investigator. In order to assess a sample of the intrarater reliability of the outcome measures, the investigator extracted data for two of the gait parameters studied on two occasions. Results indicate that the intrarater reliability was excellent for the sample of outcomes measured. Student t-test and chi square analysis revealled no statistically significant differences between the two groups in the 17 gait parameters studied. Clinical significance was found for the knee angle in the initial contact position, alternate arm swing and head position parameters. A Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (1 factor) analysis showed no significant differences between the two study groups in the symmetry of right and left leg gait parameters. However, the likelihood of detecting a difference should one have existed, is limited due to the small sample size and the limitations and biases operative in study. Therefore, no definitive conclusion can be drawn concerning the differences in the gaits of the groups studied. Modifications to this study are suggested which may enable future research to answer the study question.

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