Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 4-2022

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Allied Health-BS


Health & Sport Sciences


Dr. Shelley Payne

First Committee Member

Dr. Ashley Simons

Second Committee Member

Dr. Michele Acker


Gait, Motion Analysis, Multiple Disabilities, Kinematics

Subject Categories

Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Higher Education | Investigative Techniques | Medicine and Health Sciences | Occupational Therapy | Other Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Physical Therapy


The purpose of this research is to identify abnormal gait parameters or patterns amongst young adults with multiple disabilities enrolled in a work transition program sponsored by a public-school system. Gait disorders are commonly seen in individuals with neurologic disorders, with significant research in children with autism. Gait disorders have been linked with fall and injury risk, with significant research in elderly populations. Gait analysis technology can be used to identify gait characteristics in populations that are abnormal or contribute to gait disorders. In an observational design, students from the transitional program promoted by Westerville City Schools, housed on Otterbein University campus were the focus population. These students are classified as young adults, aged 18-22 years old, with multiple disabilities. These participants were then gender-matched with healthy Otterbein Student volunteers 18-22 years old. Each participant underwent an hour-long observational session in the Biomechanics Institute at Otterbein university. Gait parameter and kinematic data was collected for each subject. Descriptive statistics and a Mann-Whitney U test was run for statistical significance of values. Significant differences between groups were found for left and right limb walking speeds, right limb step length, right limb step time, left and right limb opposite foot off, right double support, left knee maximum flexion, left knee minimum flexion, and left knee valgus. The gait parameter differences observed were consistent with an overall decreased walking speed and decreased step length in the Best of Both Worlds members, which can contribute to injury risk and decreased community ambulation. Values contributing to decreased walking speeds in the subjects of the BoBW population require further research to identify specific causes, but overall gait differences were identified. Abnormal gait parameters and kinematic information can be an indicator of injury and fall risk and can serve as a clear descriptor of mobility.

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use