University of Twente Student Theses


De effecten van een executieve functietraining bij kinderen met een verstandelijke beperking : een verkennend onderzoek

Groen, L.C. (2015) De effecten van een executieve functietraining bij kinderen met een verstandelijke beperking : een verkennend onderzoek.

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Abstract:Objective: Children with a mental disability show delays of development in several area’s, including executive functions. A lack of, or underdeveloped executive functions, can lead to behavioral problems. This study investigates the fitness of a training on an iPad, to improve the executive functions of children with a mental disability. Executive functions are all the cognitive processes that combined lead to efficient, planned behavior. Three executive functions that will be taken into account in this study are: working memory, inhibition and cognitive flexibility. The training used, developed by researchers of the University of Utrecht, consists of several iPad games and an additional non-electronic game. Method: 11 children (4 girls and 7 boys, mean age 5,2) from a health care institution for mentally disabled people, de Twentse Zorgcentra, participated in this study. Before and after training, they were assessed by neuropsychological testing of their executive functions. In addition, an assessment of their behavior was taken from their group leaders. These outcomes were compared after the training and also qualitative data was acquired, using observations and experiences from the trainers. Training was given to the children by trained interns associated with the groups, a volunteer and the researcher. Training sessions took place 2 to 3 times a week, lasting 5 weeks. However, due to practical limitations, not every child was able to get the minimum of 10 sessions. Results: In this study no significant effects of the training on the assessments were found. Statistical logistics showed no significant improvements in neuropsychological functioning or behavior. Qualitative data included observations and experiences from trainers and comparison of the children’s individual scores. These data showed no effects attributed to the training, but did give additional information about limitations and recommendations for practical use of the training and further research. Conclusion: This study provides first insights into the use of an executive function training for children with a mental disability. No significant effects from the training on the tasks of the neuropsychological assessment and scores of the behavioral assessment were found. No clear statement describing the fitness of this training for these children has been found. The lack of effect can also be due to several other implications, like little children getting the minimum of 10 training sessions. This training should be investigated with a larger sample size in a structured way with clear inclusion criteria to be able to give a clear statement about the fitness of this training for the target group.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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