Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Jerry Purvis

Advisor Department




The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of balance training on disruptive behaviors in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).


Fourteen parents of children with ASD participated in this study. Data was collected using the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) distributed to various therapy centers around the Hattiesburg and Jackson areas. A secondary survey was included that collected demographic data and basic data on what therapies the children have been involved in. The ABC provided a measure of the incidence of disruptive behaviors exhibited by the children with ASD as evaluated by their parents. Three of the five subscales of the ABC were used including the irritability, stereotypy and hyperactivity subscales all of which were treated as separate dependent variables. The demographic data and list of therapies was used to investigate relationships between the therapies and disruptive behaviors and to split the participants into the experimental and control groups. The experimental group included those whose children had participated in balance training for more than a year and the control group included those whose children participated in balance training for less than a year. The data was analyzed using Hotelling’s Trace and Independent Samples t-scores.


When all three dependent variables were analyzed collectively there was no statistically significant difference between the incidence of disruptive behaviors in the control and experimental groups p>0.05. On a one-tailed independent samples t-test of the individual variables none achieved significance between the groups p>0.05. When the data was grouped based on number of interventions disregarding type, the score on the irritability subscale just failed to reach significance with p=0.07.


None of the data was statistically significant even when analyzed for the effects of ABA and drug treatments which does not reflect the findings of past research. Limitations to this study include a small sample size, a quasi-experimental design, a lack of baseline measures, a lack of representation of patients without access to high quality therapeutic care, and a compromised control group which had to include individuals with less than a year of balance training. Future research with a larger sample and a stronger methodology is necessary to determine the effect of balance training on disruptive behavior in children with ASD. Further research may also need to investigate the link between number of therapies and disruptive behaviors.