Tag Archive for 'bambini'

Review: motor coordination, autism

The sport is increasingly getting closer to the world of youth with autism (ASD) and it can be of considerable help in improving their motor skills and their degree of autonomy, reducing the risk of acquiring a sedentary lifestyle. This review, although published a few years ago, provides valuable information to those who want to propose physical education and sports programs for young with ASD. They are not practical information but those theories, science-based, that who is approaching these young  should know (obviously along with many others).

Motor Coordination in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Synthesis and Meta-Analysis

Kimberly A. Fournier, Chris J. Hass, Sagar K. Naik, Neha Lodha, and James H. Cauraugh

J Autism Dev Disord (2010) 40:1227–1240

The literature focusing on gross motor behavior and development in ASD is plagued by inconsistent findings.

ASD is associated with greater clumsiness, motor coordination abnormalities, postural instability, and poor performance on standardized tests of motor functioning

Several studies failed to detect differences between children with ASD and those with learning disabilities or mental retardation, general developmental delay and language disorders across reflexive, intentional, fine and gross motor tasks.

These studies provide critical information regarding the types of motor impairments seen in ASD, but the specific patterns and sources of motor deficits in this population remain unclear.

Other approaches to elucidating motor components of ASD include neural signaling. Abnormal transmission in the serotonergic, dopaminergic, and GABAergic systems, frequently observed in ASD, may potentially affect motor performance

Individuals with ASD have larger total brain, cerebellar and caudate nucleus volumes; however, the area of the corpus callosum is reduced.

Several related studies in which motor behavior was evaluated using home videos of children later diagnosed with ASD compared to typically developing children demonstrated motor differences within the first 2 years of age.

This review study showed:

Differences in motor performance observed are not dependent upon a specific diagnosis within ASD. Indeed, individuals diagnosed with autism, globally as ASD, or Asperger’s syndrome all possessed significant motor deficits compared to the individuals with normal neurologic development.

An immature postural system may severely limit the emergence and performance of other motor skills.

Movement disturbances such as akinesia, dyskinesia and bradykinesia may affect a person’s ability to initiate, switch, continue or effectively communicate, interact socially, or perform activities of daily living.

That motor coordination deficits were more prevalent in individuals diagnosed with ASD than in controls with neurologically typical development.

Consistent evidence for an increase in total brain volume as well as specific brain regions including the cerebral hemispheres, caudate nucleus, and cerebellum in autism. Conversely, the corpus callosum was consistently reduced in size. Moreover, post mortem studies have detailed increased numbers of altered cortical mini-columns that may lead to a less well-organized cerebral cortex and less integration among brain regions reported children with high functioning autism demonstrated diffusely decreased connectivity across the motor execution network relative to children with normal neurodevelopment.

Children with high functioning autism had significantly smaller grey matter volumes in subcortical, posterior cingulate, and precuneus regions than those diagnosed with Asperger’s. Compared to controls, smaller grey matter volumes in predominantly frontopallidal regions were observed in high functioning autism where as in Asperger’s less grey matter was observed in bilateral caudate and left thalamus. It has been found higher white matter volumes around the basal ganglia in high functioning autism than in Asperger’s or controls. Both ASD groups, however, possessed greater white matter volume than controls. Conversely, both ASD groups had less frontal and corpus collasol white matter.

Taken together these mechanistic findings suggest a broad, large area with disarranged neuronal organization and cortical connectivity across ASD.

How the environment can influence our kids

The problems related to kid sports (and not just, think of the baby gang)  have always urged psychologists. At this regard I would like to recall that the issue came out not just in these last years but that back in 1980 Rainer Martens wrote a chapter called “Kid sports: A den of iniquity or a land of promise?” In conclusion, to explain how the environment can affect our young he reported these words, which today continue to be true.

Risultati immagini per if a child lives with criticism he learns to condemn

New proposals to diffuse sport among young

Aspen Institute launched a model of sport development for children and adolescents based on the most recent research in this area with the aim to increase their involvement in sport. The goal is to change the sport culture centered on the early start to a single sport, suggesting the validity of a multi-sports even for future elite athletes. This initiative also aims to increase the number of young physically active that in recent years is narrowing significantly. The project, developed together with the most important sports organizations and worldwide company has been called Project Play – Reimagining Youth Sport in America.

Fig. 6 Physical activity has long lasting benefits that affect all aspects of a child’s life and last into adulthood. (Courtesy of Aspen Institute Project Play) [Citation]  

PLAY Campaign for children with disabilities

Red Sox hosts the PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign the first program in professional sports to include children with disabilities.

Risultati immagini per Red Sox host PLAY event at Fenway Park

Children with ASD and soccer

Mental disabilities & sports: IJSP special issue

International Journal of Sport Psychology  first special issue totally devoted to the persons with intellectual disabilities.

Football Integrated for children with mental disabilities

Roma Cares Foundation and the Integrated Football Academy continue even this year the project “Football Together” directed to children of 6-13 years with intellectual disabilities. The project aims to use football to promote the sports, social and psychological development of young people. The program is meant to be a sport training adapted to the needs of each individual, with specific motor and psychosocial assessments (beginning, during and year-end) permitting anyone to learn if followed by competent professionals (football instructors, sports psychologists, speech therapist and doctors) with training sessions organized into units of 60 minutes twice a week from October to June.

For further information: segreteria@accademiacalciointegrato.org

Soccer and autism: it starts a new season

It starts the third season of the project “Football Together”, devoted to children, 6-12 years old, with intellectual disabilities who want to play football with AS Roma and Accademia di Calcio Integrato.

Motor and psychosocial development in children with intellectual disabilities through soccer

Movimento

Rivista di Psicologia e Scienze del Movimento e dello Sport

n.2/3, 2016, 63 pagine

Roma: Edizioni Luigi Pozzi

 

Lo sviluppo motorio e psicosociale in bambini con disabilità intellettive attraverso il calcio

Motor and psychosocial development in children with intellectual disabilities through soccer

 

Alberto Cei*’, Paolo Franceschi^, Michele Rosci^, Daniela Sepio’ e Bruno Ruscello°

*Università San Raffaele, Roma e ASD Calcio Integrato

^AS Roma Calcio

‘ASD Calcio Integrato

°Università di Tor Vergata, Roma

 

Parole chiave: bambini, autismo, calcio, apprendimento, empowerment 

Key words: children, autism, soccer, learning, empowerment

 

 

Abstract 

Calcio Insieme (Soccer Together) is a project promoted by Roma Cares Foundation, non-profit organization linked to the broader context of Social Responsibility and Sustainability of AS ROMA and A.S.D. Accademia di Calcio Integrato, whose objective is the development of education and culture integrated to the values of sport through the soccer.

Soccer is the sport most loved and practiced by girls and boys around the world, but for young people with developmental difficulties are rare, if not absent, the opportunities allowing them to live this sport as an educational and playful experience. Therefore, this applied research project, spread over three years, is aimed at children (6-12 years) with intellectual disabilities and with particular reference to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Soccer Together project wants to promote the physical activity and soccer teaching for these children, in order to improve the quality of their lives through a continuous sport practice over time. Furthermore, this project wants also to develop a methodology model of teaching, tailored for these children, through this applied research.

Soccer Together began in September 2015 with the collaboration of some schools of Roma. They promoted among families of children with intellectual disabilities the knowledge of this initiative. They organized information meetings lead by the staff of Soccer Together to start building a community whose school, family, sport organization and staff could feel part of a common project at its center there are the children with intellectual disabilities and especially those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since the beginning the project has had as main focus the empowerment of each child through the soccer, as recommended by the International Paralympic Committee.

To better understand the different steps of the experiment carried out by the technical-scientific staff of Soccer Together at the Giulio Onesti Center, in Roma, it’s important to acknowledge what are the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and what are the limits and the motor/psychological potential of children with ASD; the report describes in detail the main features and the research results.

This report begins with an overview of autism spectrum disorders and what are the limits and the motor potential of these children. It emerges that, up to now, the experiences carried out in this area included only individual sports and that no investigation has been conducted to test how the group sports and soccer specifically could be a means of improving the motor/sports skills and the psychological and interpersonal skills. In the section devoted to the method are described the diagnoses of 30 children (27 boys and 3 girls). They  have participated in the project by attending at the training program for an hour twice a week for 5 months. They were divided into two sub-groups (Green and Red) as a function of their motor skills and psycho-relational competences. All children were subjected to the initial and final motor assessment. Similarly it proceeded with the psychological and interpersonal evaluation carried out at the beginning and at the end of the program. This was done through interviews with parents and their school teachers and an assessment carried out on the field for the duration of the period of activities carried out by the football coaches and the sport psychologists. In addition, before the start of the program, the whole staff,  including sport psychologists, youth football instructors, one speech therapist, one sport physician and one coordinator of the relations with families and schools have participated in a specific training, theoretical and practical, learning to be sensitive and to work with young individuals with developmental disorders. The results showed that in relation to motor skills there are significant differences from the initial assessment in relation to 6 tests out of 10. The children improved in tests regarding: walking between the cones, running between the cones, roll on the mat, high jump (3 obstacles 20 / 30cm), grab (5 launches from 1 to 5 meters away from the instructor) and stay balanced on jellyfish.

In relation to run with the ball (to drive the ball into a space 15m long and 4m wide) were detected two results. The first is that, even at the end of the program, 39.3% of children did not show any improvement. The second is of opposite sign and shows that 28.6% is placed in an intermediate skill level. They drive the ball, move frequently left and right even if out of the lane. In addition, 10.7% shows a medium-high skill level, driving the ball without leaving the lane. These data show there is a significant difference from the point of view of the motor competences among the children, while for some the training it’s characterized more as motor activity oriented to the acquisition of basic motor patterns, for others it’s oriented to  teach the soccer fundamentals.

The questionnaire administered at the end of the program to the parents of the children examined the following skills: cooperation, participation in the games, understanding the others and be understood, communicate with each other, socialize, approach the new situations/people and reduction of behavioral problems. For each of these skills, the parents have expressed a final assessment, it showed that they believe their children are improved significantly. It’s also interesting to note that the same questionnaire was administered to school support teachers of children and the resulting data are similar to those experienced by parents. Assessments made on the field by sport psychologists and coaches have shown that most of young people have improved, even if  they achieved very different skill levels, depending on the difficulty level initially expressed. For the future, there are clearly detectable paths of physical activity and sports differentiating the two children groups (Red and Green).

In summary, these data confirm the findings of the research review conducted on people with autism spectrum disorder (Sowa e Meulenbroek, 2012). That is to say, that the motor/sport skills increase with specific program of motor/sports learning. Our study adds that the organization of training sessions in group interventions and individual interventions promote the development of social skills, as in part it has been showed by Walker, Barry and Bader (2010). This pilot study has also responded to the request to organize “a naturalistic intervention based on group sports like soccer” (Sowa and Meulenbroek, 2012; p.56) and, till now it was never been documented. In addition, as already showed (Luiselli 2014), the behavioral problems were reduced, decreasing the stereotyped movements and the self-stimulation behaviors.

Finally, it should be mentioned those results achieved which are not identifiable in scientific terms but that at the same time are important for a project with the aim to reduce the limits of the children with ASD and widen their skills at 360 degrees. The most significant are the following: the first football games played between them and the coaches and two games 4vs4 with players of Roma Academy; the identification process with AS Roma has increased the children socialization and stimulated their pride being a part of Roma team; live this experience with professionals totally dedicated to them and willing to respect the times of socialization and learning while not ceasing to guide them in the activities; for families it has been important to meet each other, sharing these experiences and feeling themselves as an active part of the project.

Soccer Together: experience and field study conducted with children with intellectual disabilities

The next issue of the Italian Journal in Sport and exercise Psychology will be devoted to the experience and field research of integrated soccer conducted with 30 boys and girls (6-12 years old). More information write at this blog.