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The effectiveness of racket-sport intervention on visual perception and executive functions in children with mild intellectual disabilities and borderline intellectual functioning

Authors Chen M, Tsai H, Wang C, Wuang Y

Received 22 May 2015

Accepted for publication 30 June 2015

Published 2 September 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 2287—2297

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S89083

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Ryouhei Ishii

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Ming-De Chen,1,2 Hsien-Yu Tsai,1 Chih-Chung Wang,3 Yee-Pay Wuang1,4

1Department of Occupational Therapy, Kaohsiung Medical University, 2Department of Rehabilitation, Kaohsiung Municipal Ta-Tung Hospital, 3Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 4Department of Pediatrics, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Background: This study aimed to investigate the effects of table tennis training (TTT) versus standard occupational therapy (SOT) on visual perception and executive functions in school-age children with mild intellectual disabilities and borderline intellectual functioning. 
Subjects and methods: Children (n=91) were randomly assigned to intervention with either SOT (n=46, 20 females, mean age =10.9±3.9 years) or TTT (n=45, 21 females, mean age =10.6±3.6 years), while another 41 (18 females, mean age =10.7±4.0 years) served as controls. Both the SOT and TTT programs were administered 60 minutes per session, three times a week, for 16 weeks. The Test of Visual Perceptual Skill–third edition (TVPS-3) was used to evaluate visual perception, and executive functions were assessed by the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test 64-card version (WCST-64) and the Stroop test. 
Results: At postintervention, the two intervention groups significantly outperformed the control group on all measures of visual perception and executive functions. Participants in the TTT group had significantly greater before–after changes on all measures of the TVPS-3, WCST-64, and the Stroop test compared to the SOT and controls. 
Conclusion: Table tennis could be considered a therapy option while treating cognitive/perceptual problems in children with mild intellectual disabilities and borderline intellectual functioning. Implications for clinical professionals and recommendations for further research are discussed.

Keywords: visual perception, executive function, table tennis, intellectual disabilities

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