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The Effect of Perceptual-Motor Training on Executive Functions in Children with Non-Verbal Learning Disorder

Authors Soltani Kouhbanani S, Arabi SM, Zarenezhad S, Khosrorad R

Received 5 March 2020

Accepted for publication 21 April 2020

Published 5 May 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 1129—1137


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Sakineh Soltani Kouhbanani,1 Seyedeh Manizheh Arabi,2 Somayeh Zarenezhad,1 Razieh Khosrorad3

1Department of Educational Sciences, Educational Sciences and Psychology Faculty, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran; 2Department of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran; 3Department of Health Education, Educational Neuroscience Research Center, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran

Correspondence: Razieh Khosrorad
Department of Health Education, Educational Neuroscience Research Center, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran
Tel +98 930 668 1173
Fax +98 51 4401 8424

Purpose: Research shows an atypical cognitive process in children with nonverbal learning disorder (NLD) compared to typically developing children, but a wealth of information indicates that physical activity can influence cognitive processes. However, little is known about the effects of perceptual-motor training and its impact on the cognitive process of children with NLD. Thus, the major goals of this study are to compare the executive functions (EFs) in children with NLD with typically developing children and then to investigate the effect of perceptual-motor training on EFs of children with NLD.
Methods: To achieve the first goal, 400 typically developing (IQ > 80) and NLD children (7– 13 years old) were randomly selected in the city of Mashhad, Iran, during the period 2017– 2018. As for the second goal, 50 children with NLD were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. To evaluate executive functions, Delis–Kaplan executive function system test was used at the pretest, posttest, and 3-month follow-up. The experimental group received the Werner and Reini’s perceptual-motor training program in sixteen 45-min sessions (three sessions per week), but the control group did not receive any intervention.
Results: The results showed that children with NLD were significantly weaker than typically developing children in London Tower Test (t (38) = − 4.662, p < 0.01), Trail Making Test (t (33.926) = − 3.11, p < 0.01), Card Sorting Test (t (38) = − 3.427, p < 0.01), and Stroop Color Test (t (30.035) = − 5.876, p < 0.01). The Pilates training had an obvious effect on enhancing the performance of participants in the experimental group (p< 0.001), but similar results were not observed in the control group.
Conclusion: Children with NLD have problems in EFs, but perceptual-motor training can be used as an effective intervention for these children.

Keywords: physical activity, cognitive processing, executive function, nonverbal learning disorder

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