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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Mini-Basketball Training Program on Executive Functions and Core Symptoms among Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

1
College of Physical Education, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225127, China
2
Research Group Neuroprotection, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
3
Department of Neurology, Medical Faculty, Otto von Guericke University, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
4
Exercise and Mental Health Laboratory, School of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
5
School of Physical Education and Sports Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100000, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(5), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10050263
Received: 6 April 2020 / Revised: 25 April 2020 / Accepted: 28 April 2020 / Published: 30 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Studying Brain Activity in Sports Performance)
This study examined the effects of a 12-week mini-basketball training program (MBTP) on executive functions and core symptoms among preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this quasi-experimental pilot study, 33 ASD preschoolers who received their conventional rehabilitation program were assigned to either a MBTP group (n = 18) or control group (n = 15). Specifically, the experimental group was required to take an additional 12-week MBTP (five days per week, one session per day, and forty minutes per session), while the control group was instructed to maintain their daily activities. Executive functions and core symptoms (social communication impairment and repetitive behavior) were evaluated by the Childhood Executive Functioning Inventory (CHEXI), the Social Responsiveness Scale-Second Edition (SRS-2), and the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R), respectively. After the 12-week intervention period, the MBTP group exhibited significantly better performances in working memory (F = 7.51, p < 0.01, partial η2 = 0.195) and regulation (F = 4.23, p < 0.05, partial η2 = 0.12) as compared to the control group. Moreover, the MBTP significantly improved core symptoms of ASD preschoolers, including the social communication impairment (F = 6.02, p < 0.05, partial η2 = 0.020) and repetitive behavior (F = 5.79, p < 0.05, partial η2 = 0.016). Based on our findings, we concluded that the 12-week MBTP may improve executive functions and core symptoms in preschoolers with ASD, and we provide new evidence that regular physical exercise in the form of a MBTP is a promising alternative to treat ASD. View Full-Text
Keywords: exercise; executive functions; core symptoms; children; autism spectrum disorders exercise; executive functions; core symptoms; children; autism spectrum disorders
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Wang, J.-G.; Cai, K.-L.; Liu, Z.-M.; Herold, F.; Zou, L.; Zhu, L.-N.; Xiong, X.; Chen, A.-G. Effects of Mini-Basketball Training Program on Executive Functions and Core Symptoms among Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 263.

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