Mind-Body Training Helps Autistic Children’s Self-Control
By Chelsea E. Toledo, M.A. on September 19, 2013
Background: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are known to experience difficulty with self-control – which manifests as temper tantrums and repetitive, rigid, or impulsive behaviors. If self-control difficulties are not addressed, additional learning problems can follow. Most existing interventions to improve self-control use behavior-based therapy.
What’s New: On July 10, 2013, a study published in the online journal PLOS ONE demonstrated that a Chinese mind-body exercise could improve self-control in children with ASD. Forty-six children between the ages of 6 and 17 with the disorder were divided into two groups, matching them based on their age an IQ. For four weeks, the control group practiced Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), a conventional behavioral intervention technique, while the experimental group underwent training in Nei Yang Gong, a holistic Chinese approach including psychoeducation, diet modifications, and mind-body exercises. The researchers found that children participating in Nei Yang Gong scored better than the control group on neurophysical tests, parental questionnaires, and electroencephalography (EEG) brain activity recordings measuring self-control.
Why it’s important: This study reveals the potential benefit of Chinese mind-body training for children with ASD.
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