Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

The Effect of a Trampoline-Based Training Program on the Muscle Strength of the Inferior Limbs and Motor Proficiency in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

The Effect of a Trampoline-Based Training Program on the Muscle Strength of the Inferior Limbs and Motor Proficiency in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Article excerpt

Introduction

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition clinically defined by impairments in communication and social interaction, which is characterized by repetitive and stereotyped restricted patterns of behavior, interests and activities (American Psychiatric Association, 2000 in Bradley, Caldwell and Underwood (2014). In many children who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD), motor and sensory difficulties are observed (Baranek, 2002). Several studies have also reported changes in the motor development profile of these children, which contribute to a lower physical fitness (Loh et al., 2007; Ozonoff et al., 2008; Pan, 2009; Fournier, Hass, Naik, Loadha, and Cauraugh, 2010).

The strategies for the treatment of ASD focus primarily on cognitive stimulation, social and language development and also on the elimination of stereotyped movements (Koring et al., 2010; Sowa and Meulenbroek, 2012). Physical activity plays an important role in the quality of life of these individuals and has been widely regarded as an important strategy in the promotion of physical fitness (Yilmaz, Yanardag, Birkan, and Bumin, 2004; Lochbaum and Crews, 2003; Pan, 2011) and the reduction of the maladaptive and stereotyped behavioral patterns (Lancioni and O'Reilly 1998; Elliott, Dobbin, Rose, and Soper (1994) and Yilmaz et al (2004), as well as aggressive and antisocial behaviors (Allison, Basile, and Bruce MacDonald (1991);. Pan, 2010). The practice of physical activity is also regarded as having an enormous significance in improving the nutritional status (Pitetti, Rendoff, Grover, & Beets, 2007), sensory skills (Bass, Duchowny, & Llabre, 2009), attention, perception and communication (Hameury, et al (2010.), and academic performance (Nicholson, Kehle, Bray, and Heest 2011; Rosenthal-Malek, and Mitchell, 1997).

Physical activity programs employing trampolines have been used in several areas, as they seem to promote the improvement of balance, walk, muscle tone and joint flexibility in cases of traumatic spinal cord injury (Citero, Mederdrut, and Power, 2012) and multiple sclerosis (Garcia, Mederdrut, Veloso & Fontes, 2008), as well as in balance recovery capacity in the elderly (Aragon, Karamanidis, Vaz, & Arampatzis, 2011) and the postural control in stroke patients (Miklitsch, Krewer, Freivogel, & Steube, 2013). In addition, the perception of the temporal and rhythmic space, overcoming fear (Botelho, 1992), the flexibility and resistance of the abdominal lower limb muscles and the heart rate (Leite et al. 2009) can be improved with this type of training. Notably, Ferrarezi and Guedes (2000) reported the existence of progress in the balance and flexibility of adolescents with cerebral palsy.

There is no study addressing the effects of trampoline-based programs on the physical fitness of children with ASD. Therefore, in order to fill this gap in the literature, this study seeks to assess the effect of a trampoline-based training program in the motor proficiency and muscle strength of the lower limbs of children with ASD.

Methods

Participants

We sampled 16 children (13 boys and 3 girls) diagnosed with ASD. These children were attending preschool and schools of the 1st cycle of basic education in the district of Viseu. The sample was then divided into two groups of eight children each: experimental (EG) and the control (CG) groups. Participants were between 4 and 8 years of age (EG: 5:43 ± 1:53 years; CG: 7.60 ± 1.60 years). The EG underwent a 32-week program of trampoline training in a gym fully equipped with various types of trampolines (1 session per week lasting 45 minutes); during the same period, the GC did not participate in any organized or systematic sport activity.

Instruments

Motor proficiency was assessed using a Bruininks-Oseretsky battery of tests (2nd ed., 2005) in its reduced form (bot2), as previously used children with ASD (Dewey, Cantell, & Crawford, 2007; Gabriels et al 2012 ; Mattard-Labrecque Ben Love, & Couture, 2013). …

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