The effect of aerocombat exercises versus kata techniques training on symptoms of children with autism spectrum disorders: the role of exercise nature
Paper ID : 1939-12THCONG
, College of Sport Sciences, University of Isfahan
The effects of 14 weeks of kata (karate) versus aerocombat (martial arts aerobics) training on main symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) including communication deficit, stereotypy, and social dysfunction of children with ASD were investigated. We have sought to answer the question of whether the nature of martial arts (kata vs. aerocambet) can alter the symptoms and the severity of ASD. The study included 54 eligible (diagnosed ASD, 6-10 years old) children whom they assigned to kata (n = 18), aerocombat (n = 18), and no-exercise control group (n = 18). Participants of the exercise groups received kata techniques or aerocombat instruction three times per week for 14 weeks (42 sessions). The symptoms of ASD were assessed at baseline (pre-intervention), week 14 (post-intervention), and at one month follow up in the three groups. Gilliam Autism Rating Scale-Second Edition (GARS-2) was used to evaluate changes in participants’ communication deficit, stereotypic behaviors, and social dysfunction. Statistical analyses were performed with a repeated measures of analysis of variance, a one-way analysis of variance a paired t-test, and an idependent t-test. Results showed that both kata techniques and aerocombat training significantly improved communication deficit, stereotypy, and social dysfunction of the participants in the exercise groups. It was also found that aerocombat exercises played a much more prominent and distinct role in improving social dysfunction, and communication deficit than kata techniques. Moreover, the effect of these two types of intervention on stereotypy was found to be similar. Interestingly, after 30 days of no practice, communication deficit, stereotypy, and social dysfunction in the exercise groups remained significantly decreased compared to pre-intervention time. The participants of the control group did not show significant changes in the outcome variables. Following participation in the intervention, autism severity decreased from baseline levels by a M of 25.07% and 43.01% across participants in kata and aerocombat groups respectively. After 30 days of no exercise, autism severity in the exercise groups remained significantly decreased compared to pre-intervention time, and with a slight change, the improvement of autism severity reached 22.4% and 38.67% in kata and aerocombat groups respectively. Autism severity increased from baseline levels by a M of 2.26% in no-exercise control group. It seems that teaching kata techniques and aerocombat exercises to children with ASD for a long period of time consistently improves their communication deficit, stereotypy, and social dysfunction, as well as their autism severity. The role played by aerocombat training in modifying and improving autism symptoms was found to be significantly greater than kata training. In conclusion, it should be noted that the nature of martial arts could be considered as a key option in prescribing martial arts based intervention in children with ASD for improving symptoms of ASD.