Games that young people use for exercising may also improve executive function and motor skills in kids with autism.
Claudia Hilton, PhD, of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and colleagues enrolled 17 children with autism to over 30 sessions of playing an exergame called the Makato arena. The game takes place in a triangular shaped arena with pillars at each point, each with lights and sounds at different levels of the pillars. Gamers must hit the correct spots as they light up on different pillars.
The participants spent two-minute sessions in the Makoto arena. The speed of the game increased when the participants reached 95% accuracy. They completed an average of sex sessions per week.
The children saw improvements in response speed, working memory and motor ability, especially in strength and agility, after the 30 sessions, the researchers reported in the International Journal for Sports and Exercise medicine.
“We think that the exertion of participating in this type of game helps to improve the neural connections in the brains of these children,” Hilton said in a statement. “This is a small pilot study, but we hope to obtain grant funding to confirm these findings in a larger group of children with autism and to examine the changes that are occurring in the brain.”
A study conducted by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston says games used for exercising can improve physical and mental fitness in children with autism spectrum disorders.
The study, written by UTMB’s Claudia Hilton, associate professor, Tim Reistetter, associate professor and Diane Collins, assistant professor, all from the UTMB occupational therapy and rehabilitation sciences departments, concludes that findings suggest the use of exergaming, more specifically the Makoto arena, has the potential to serve as a valuable addition to therapies for children with autism spectrum disorders who have motor and executive function impairments.