June 27, 2017  

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Kinesiology Instructor Researching Method to Improve Physical Education Instruction for Children with Autism

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Southern Miss physical education instructor Joann Judge is evaluating a method that could influence how physical education is taught to children with autism spectrum disorder.

Joann Judge, a physical education instructor in the School of Kinesiology at The University of Southern Mississippi, is evaluating a method that could influence how physical education is taught to children with autism spectrum disorder.

Judge is researching the use of video modeling to teach motor skills to children with autism. Video modeling is when the learner is provided a video representation of a specific skill. The learner then has the opportunity to imitate or model the skill.

This strategy has been shown to be effective in teaching a variety of skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorder, but its application for teaching motor skills has yet to be fully researched.

“There is limited information on the use of video modeling as an instructional strategy in teaching motor skills to children with autism,” said Judge. “Using eye-tracking technology, I plan to investigate the visual attention patterns of children with autism as they observe video demonstrations of motor skill performances.”  

Judge said she plans to use her findings to improve the teaching and learning of motor skills and physical activity to children with autism.

“I hope to provide all children, especially those with autism spectrum disorder, the opportunity to develop and maintain the skills necessary to live a happy, healthy, and physically active lifestyle,” said Judge.

Through personal experience as an adapted physical education teacher, Judge became inspired to teach children with autism. This led her to pursue a master’s degree in special education and a doctoral degree in kinesiology with an adapted physical education emphasis from the University of Virginia.

At Southern Miss, she is continuing her doctoral research. Her eye-tracking technology study is currently underway at a research space in the School of Kinesiology.

For more about the School of Kinesiology in The University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Health, visit www.usm.edu/kinesiology.