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J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 Jun 25. doi: 10.1007/s10803-019-04072-3. [Epub ahead of print]

Promoting Executive Functioning in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Through Mixed Martial Arts Training.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological Science, School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, 4201 SBSG, Irvine, CA, 92697-7085, USA. jnphung@uci.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences, California State University San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, CA, 92096, USA. jnphung@uci.edu.
3
Department of Psychological Science, School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, 4201 SBSG, Irvine, CA, 92697-7085, USA.

Abstract

The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a mixed martial arts (MMA) intervention in improving executive functions (EFs) in a sample with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). School-aged children with ASD were randomly assigned to a MMA intervention group or a waitlist control (WLC) group. The intervention featured a 26-class program over a 13-week period; the WLC group did not participate in any martial arts between pre- and post-test. Results indicated that the MMA group had significantly better EFs at post-test compared to the WLC group. The intervention appeared to be efficacious in meeting its goals of improving the executive functioning of children with ASD. The present study extends the current literature on the malleability of EFs among children with ASD.

KEYWORDS:

Autism spectrum disorder; Behavior regulation; Emotion regulation; Executive functioning; Intervention; Martial arts

PMID:
31240587
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-019-04072-3

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