Audio motor training improves mobility and spatial cognition in visually impaired children

Giulia Cappagli, Sara Finocchietti, Elena Cocchi, Giuseppina Giammari, Roberta Zumiani, Anna Vera Cuppone, Gabriel Baud-Bovy, Monica Gori

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Abstract

Since it has been demonstrated that spatial cognition can be affected in visually impaired children, training strategies that exploit the plasticity of the human brain should be early adopted. Here we developed and tested a new training protocol based on the reinforcement of audio-motor associations and thus supporting spatial development in visually impaired children. The study involved forty-four visually impaired children aged 6–17 years old assigned to an experimental (ABBI training) or a control (classical training) rehabilitation conditions. The experimental training group followed an intensive but entertaining rehabilitation for twelve weeks during which they performed ad-hoc developed audio-spatial exercises with the Audio Bracelet for Blind Interaction (ABBI). A battery of spatial tests administered before and after the training indicated that children significantly improved in almost all the spatial aspects considered, while the control group didn’t show any improvement. These results confirm that perceptual development in the case of blindness can be enhanced with naturally associated auditory feedbacks to body movements. Therefore the early introduction of a tailored audio-motor training could potentially prevent spatial developmental delays in visually impaired children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3303
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

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Cite this

Cappagli, G., Finocchietti, S., Cocchi, E., Giammari, G., Zumiani, R., Cuppone, A. V., Baud-Bovy, G., & Gori, M. (2019). Audio motor training improves mobility and spatial cognition in visually impaired children. Scientific Reports, 9(1), [3303]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39981-x