Exercise Provides Beneficial Neurocognitive Effects for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

June 01, 2021

Movement and Exertion Could Become a Treatment for Kids with Executive Dysfunction

A new scientific research review article focusing on the effectiveness of exercise for children with neurodevelopmental disorders has recently been published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Review.  In this review, an international team of scientists highlight the potential benefits of exercise to support the treatment of children with conditions such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Children with neurodevelopmental disorders typically also face executive dysfunction, a disorder which causes difficulty in planning, problem solving, organization and time management. The research team speculated that engagement in exercise could become an approach that may lead to a reduction in executive function deficits for children with ADHD, ASD or DCD. They based this theory on evidence collected from experimental studies on neurotypical children.  The researchers found that non-disordered children exhibited cognitive enhancements after exercise. They also discovered that these increases in cognition were due to improved cognitive control. Executive dysfunction has a basis in cognitive control deficits. Therefore, the team believes that neurocognitive effects of exercise may counteract executive dysfunction. They encourage more research investigating the cognitive effects of exercise for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. The researchers feel that it is a cost-effective and low-threshold approach to the treatment of executive dysfunction.

Original Study

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