Differences in performance on selected tasks of kinesthesis, flexability and strength, among intellectually typical boys and non-brain-damaged, brain-damaged, and undifferentiated educable mentally retarded boys
Auxter, David M.
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THE PROBLEM The purposes of this study were to determine differences among intellectually typical boys, educable mentally retarded boys, who were diagnosed as non-brain-damaged, brain-damaged, and undifferentiated on measures of kinesthesis, flexibility and strength. PROCEDURES Thirty-five boys, nine and ten years of age, were drawn from eleven elementary schools located in Springfield and West Springfield, Massachusetts. Ninety-one educable mentally retarded nine and ten-year-old boys were obtained from 27 schools and institutions for the mentally retarded located in New England and the middle Atlantic states. The educable mentally retarded boys were medically diagnosed as brain-damaged, non-brain-damaged, or undifferentiated by a criteria of (1), neurological examinations, (2) EEG findings and interpretations, and (3), supportive life histories. Four test measures of kinesthesis were used in the study. They were for the purpose of measuring the kinesthetic perception of an arm in space, a leg in space, distance between the two feet while standing, and static balance on a balance stick. Flexibility measures tested were ankle flexion and extension, and trunk flexion and extension. The tests of strength administered were the vertical jump and grip strength which were used to measure explosive strength, and static strength. The data were punched on to IBM cards, and the sums, means, standard deviations and intercorrelations between the test measures, chronological age, mental age, and I.Q. were computed on a 1640 IBM computer. The data were analyzed by analysis of variance. RESULTS 1. Significant differences were found between the intellectually typical group and all differentially diagnosed mentally retarded groups on static balance, the vertical jump, and ankle flexibility in favor of the intellectually typical group. 2. No significant differences between intellectually typical beys and all differentially diagnosed educable mentally retarded boys were found on measures of kinesthesis which tested the perception of the arm and leg in space, perceived distance between feet while standing, grip strength, trunk flexion and trunk extension. 3. Non-brain-damaged educable mentally retarded boys performed significantly better than both brain-damaged and undifferentiated educable mentally retarded boys on the tests of the Vertical Jump and the Leg Raise to Twenty Degrees Test of Kinesthesis. No significant differences were found on the other seven test measures of the study. 4. There were no significant differences between brain - damaged and undifferentiated educable mentally retarded boys on all test measures of the study. CONCLUSIONS 1. Within the limits of this study, it may be concluded that the function of the kinesthesis receptors is relatively unimpaired in educable mentally retarded children. This may have implications for the use of a methodology of teaching motor skills to mentally retarded children through increased use of the kinesthetic receptors such as by use of blindfold, or manual guidance procedures. 2. Tbe mentally retarded groups performed better on tests which required less integration of stimuli from both the vestibular and kinesthetic sensory media than on tests such as the Vertical Jump and the Static Balance Test where greater integration of stimuli from both the vestibular and kinesthetic senses were needed for success on the test measures.
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