Comparing the activity patterns of autistic adults and those not on the autism spectrum

By Curtin University

This study examines the patterns and volumes of physical activity and sedentary behaviour of autistic and non-autistic adults to see if there is a difference. Existing research shows that autistic adults have more health conditions, poorer health and a shorter life expectancy than their non-autistic peers, but we don't know why. The amount, type and frequency of physical activity can benefit health, whilst periods of inactivity (sedentary behaviour) is detrimental to physical and mental health.

Participants wear an accelerometer on their thigh for 9 days -the device is fairly flat and participants have not found it to be bothersome. The accelerometer records the body position and movement of the participant and can tell the difference between sitting, standing, lying, walking, running, cycling or driving in a car.

Once the data is collected each participant gets a copy to see their personal movement and activity patterns. The researchers then use the data to see if there are any differences between autistic and non-autistic adults. This is one of the first studies in the world to use a device to look at physical activity and movement patterns in autistic adults, we hope that it will lead to more research that might help health practitioners to understand more about the health of autistic adults.

Who can participate?

  • People aged 18 - 35 who are on the autism spectrum

How do I get involved?