EFFECTIVENESS OF AN EXERCISE TRAINING PROGRAM ON YOUTH WITH ASPERGER SYNDROME

Erwin Borremans, Pauli Rintala, Marko Kielinen

Abstract


Although exercise training programs are effective in improving physical fitness and motor
competence in typically developing youth, insufficient data of the impact of interventions are
available in youth with Asperger syndrome (AS). The purpose of this study was to examine the
efficacy of an exercise program as part of an ongoing vocational training program for adolescents
with AS on motor competence and physical fitness. Twenty adolescents with AS (mean age =
16.8yrs) were enrolled in this study. A quasi-experimental nonequivalent-control-group design with
a follow-up measurement over a period of six months was followed. The intervention group
received a 12-week physical exercise program focusing on improving motor competence and
physical fitness. The structured activity program was applied 3 days a week for 1 hour. Data
collection included pre-, post-, and follow-up evaluations using the Movement Assessment Battery
for Children (M-ABC-II) and the EUROFIT physical fitness test together with training diaries and
comments from teachers and guardians. Two 2X3 repeated measures ANOVAs indicated improved
motor competence and physical fitness that was sustained over time. The exercise training program
was successful with adolescents with AS and implementation of similar programs is therefore
recommended.

Keywords


Asperger syndrome; exercise; training program; physical activity; motor skills; physical fitness; M-ABC-II; EUROFIT; youth.

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