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Understanding one's body and movements from the perspective of young adults with autism: A mixed-methods study.

Journal article
Authors Ingrid Bertilsson
Amanda Lundvik Gyllensten
Arve Opheim
Gunvor Gard
Catharina Sjödahl Hammarlund
Published in Research in developmental disabilities
Volume 78
Pages 44-54
ISSN 1873-3379
Publication year 2018
Published at
Pages 44-54
Language en
Subject categories Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified, Neurology


There are but a few studies of how persons with autism perceive their bodies and movements. Difficulties in perceiving the surrounding world along with disturbed motor coordination and executive functions may affect physical and psychological development.To explore the experiences of body and movements in young adults with autism and how two physiotherapeutic instruments may capture these experiences.Eleven young adults (16-22 years) with autism were interviewed and assessed using Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT2) and Body Awareness Scale Movement Quality and Experience (BAS MQ-E). Following a mixed- methods design, the interviews were deductively analyzed and conceptually integrated to the results of the two assessments.Experiencing conflicting feelings about their bodies/movements, led to low understanding of themselves. The assessments captured these experiences relatively well, presenting both movement quality and quantity. Positive experiences and better movement quality related to having access to more functional daily strategies.Combining motor proficiency and body awareness assessments was optimal to understand the participants' experiences.To capture body and movement functions in persons with autism in this standardized manner will lead to improved and reliable diagnoses, tailored interventions, increased body awareness and activity, and enhanced quality of life.

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