Creative Yoga Intervention Improves Motor and Imitation Skills of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Author: Kaur M1, Bhat A2
Author Information:
1M. Kaur, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Charlestown, Massachusetts.
2A. Bhat, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, Biomechanics and Movement Sciences Program, University of Delaware, 540 S College Avenue, Newark, DE 19713 (USA) and Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Behavioral Neuroscience program, University of Delaware.
Conference/Journal: Phys Ther.
Date published: 2019 Nov 25
Other: Volume ID: 99 , Issue ID: 11 , Pages: 1520-1534 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzz115. , Word Count: 237

BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence for motor impairments in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including poor gross and fine motor performance, poor balance, and incoordination. However, there is limited evidence on the effects of motor interventions for this population.

OBJECTIVE: In the present study, the effects of a physical therapy intervention using creative yoga on the motor and imitation skills of children with ASD were evaluated.

DESIGN: This study had a pretest-posttest control group design.

METHODS: Twenty-four children with ASD aged between 5 and 13 years received 8 weeks of a physical therapist-delivered yoga or academic intervention. Children were tested before and after the intervention using a standardized motor measure, the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Performance-2nd Edition (BOT-2). The imitation skills of children using familiar training-specific actions (ie, poses for the yoga group and building actions for the academic group) were also assessed.

RESULTS: After the intervention, children in the yoga group improved gross motor performance on the BOT-2 and displayed fewer imitation/praxis errors when copying training-specific yoga poses. In contrast, children in the academic group improved their fine motor performance on the BOT-2 and performed fewer imitation errors while completing the training-specific building actions.

LIMITATIONS: The study limitations include small sample size and lack of long-term follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, creative interventions, such as yoga, are promising tools for enhancing the motor and imitation skills of children with ASD.

© 2019 American Physical Therapy Association.

PMID: 31765484 DOI: 10.1093/ptj/pzz115