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Visual-based biofeedback training improves balance in youth with ASD

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Parents with autistic kids should register with Welfare Dept

Visual-based biofeedback training appears to improve balance in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), particularly in those with better starting balance, a recent study suggests.

An in-lab videogame was administered to 29 young participants with ASD. The videogame, designed to have minimal verbal instructions, included balance tasks that required participants to mimic a pose demonstrated by a shadow on-screen.

Over the course of the training, two-footed balance improvements were recorded in 27 of the 29 participants. Session number had a significant main effect; that is, each successive session resulted in an average increase of 2.41 seconds in balance times for two-footed poses (p<0.001).

In comparison, only 24 of the 29 participants showed improvements in one-footed balance. In a linear mixed-effects model, session number again exerted a significant effect, such that an average 2.13-second improvement was associated with each session (p<0.001).

Moreover, improvements in in-game balance training predicted eyes-open postural stability after the training (p=0.009). Notably, pretraining balance measures were not significantly associated with post-training posture (p=0.16), indicating that only the progress in the balance training was associated with post-training posture.

Better pretraining balance, better balance scores, older age, and less severe ritualistic and repetitive behaviours were significantly associated with greater improvements in one-footed balance (p<0.05 for all).

“Over the course of training, participants significantly improved balance times in the novel in-lab video game. On average, participants almost doubled the amount of time they were able to balance on one foot,” researchers said.

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