Background and Objective: Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder leading to multiple problems including academic difficulties and impaired skills. Information processing is abnormal in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their central nervous system (CNS) is either over or under aroused. Reaction time (RT) is a useful marker to study the ability of CNS. This study planned to investigate the changes in RT before and after 12 weeks of yoga training
Material and Methods: 72 ASD children were divided equally into control group (Group I) who did not undergo yoga training and yoga group (Group II) who received 60 minutes\' yoga training, five days a week, for 12 weeks. Components of yoga protocol included jathis, kriyas, asanas, pranayamas and yogic relaxation. Auditory RT (ART) and Visual RT (VRT) were recorded before and after 12 weeks\' yoga training using RT apparatus. Data was assessed for normality using GraphPad InStat version 3.06 for Windows 95. Wilcoxon matched?pairs signed?ranks test was used for intragroup comparison and Mann-Whitney test for intergroup comparison. P <0.05 was accepted as indicating significance.
Results: Intra-group comparisons showed a highly significant increase in ART in group I (p < 0.001) whereas both ART and VRT decreased significantly in group II (p < 0.001) with yoga training. Intergroup comparisons showed highly significant differences in ART and VRT values (P < 0.0001). Delta % changes were also highly significant for both ART and VRT (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: Yoga training may be utilized to reduce dependency on others and enhance learning capabilities and social skills in ASD children.
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