Autistic individuals often display social-communicative and emotional differences that can affect various aspects of daily living. Furthermore, autistic children are more likely to partake in sedentary activities than their neurotypical counterparts. Therefore, the present study assessed the feasibility and potential efficacy of a dance-based exergame for enhancing autistic children’s social communication skills in the home and school environments. A mixed method, within-subject, pre-test/post-test study design was employed. Children in their home environment (n= 4; Mage= 8.25 years old, SD= 0.50) and school environment (n= 31; Mage= 10.87 years old, SD= 1.61) participated in a structured dance-based exergaming (Just Dance) intervention for six weeks. Measures consisted of a pre-distributed calendar, the Emotion Regulation and Social Skills Questionnaire, behavioural observations, and a semi-structured exit interview with parents and teachers. The intervention positively influenced autistic children’s social communication skills between pre-intervention and post-intervention (P< 0.01) and further results suggested that Just Dance was a fun and enjoyable exergame that was easily implemented in different environments. The present feasibility study advocates that Just Dance is an engaging physical activity that children and parents/teachers can participate in together, within their respective environments. A larger randomised control trial is warranted to confirm the true effectiveness of the dance-based exergame for enhancing autistic children’s social-communication skills.
Morris, P., Hope, E., Foulsham, T., & Mills, J. P. (2022, September 7). Exploring the use of a dance-based exergame to enhance autistic children’s social communication skills in the home and school environments: a feasibility study. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/xz5w9