Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology and Health Science

Committee Chair(s)

Eadric Bressel


Eadric Bressel


Dennis Dolny


Edward Heath


Objective: To determine if acute whole body vibration exposure influences stereotyped behavior of young children with autism.

Design: Single-case pilot study.

Setting: Early intensive behavioral intervention clinic.

Subjects: A convenience sample of four young boys (ages 4-5 yrs) diagnosed with autism.

Interventions: Standing on a whole body vibration platform with the machine turned off (control condition) and on (treatment condition) for three to four, 30-s periods (frequency = 28 Hz; amplitude 0.97 mm).

Main measure: The outcome measure was frequency of stereotypic behavior, which was evaluated for 5-min before and after standing on the vibration platform. Between 10-40 observation-condition-observation sessions were conducted to obtain stable response data.

Results: Several stereotypy decreased by 21-55% in all children tested after the machine was turned on (P = 0.05-0.04; ES = 1.5-1.8). One participant displayed reduced stereotypy (35%) after the vibration machine was turned on and off (P = 0.03-0.04; ES = 1.3-2.0). Not all forms of stereotypy were significantly affected by the whole body vibration intervention.

Conclusions: Whole body vibration produced inconsistent effects on stereotypy. Rates of some stereotypy decreased while others were unchanged. Subjectively the children enjoyed whole body vibration which was easy to integrate into the behavioral program and did not statistically increase stereotypy.


This work made publicly available electronically on May 13, 2011.