Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 209–214 | Cite as

The effect of 16 weeks gymnastic training on social skills and neuropsychiatric functions of autistic children

  • Azadeh Zamani Jam
  • Rasoul Hemayat Talab
  • Mahmoud Sheikh
  • Farnaz Torabi
  • Forouzan Rafie
Original Article


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of 16 weeks of gymnastic exercises on motor and neuropsychological skills of children with autism. The statistical population consisted of autistic children in a charity center in Karaj. Thirty autistic children 8‒12 years of age, who were eligible to be included in the study, were randomly selected and assigned to two test and control groups. To evaluate motor development, the short form of Bruininks–Oseretsky test and to evaluate neuropsychological characteristics, Conners scales were used. The test group carried out gymnastic exercises for 16 weeks (three sessions a week, with each session lasting for 45 min); the control group subjects were engaged in their daily activities during the period. Two-way ANOVA was used to compare the two groups. There was a significant difference in the total motor skill scores between the two groups (P < 0.05); however, there were no significant differences between the two groups in subscales such as the speed of running and agility, strength and the speed of reaction/response between the two groups (P > 0.05). On the other hand, all the neuropsychological characteristics improved except for language performance. It can be concluded from the results of the present study that gymnastic exercises might have an effective role in improving motor and neuropsychological skills of children with autism.


Autism Gymnastic Motor development Neuropsychological characteristics 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have financial or other conflicts of interest in regards to this research.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with ethical standard of the Tehran University and, all the experimental protocols were approved by the Ethic Committee of Tehran University.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all parents that their children participated in this study, and they have free to continue the protocol.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Tehran, Alborz campusTehranIran
  2. 2.Payame Noor UniversityTehranIran
  3. 3.Faculty of Physical Education and Sport SciencesUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  4. 4.Faculty of Physical Education and Sport SciencesPayame Noor University of TehranTehranIran
  5. 5.Neuroscience Research CentreKerman University of Medical SciencesKermanIran

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