Introduction: The relationship between intellectual disability (ID) and hand motor coordination and speed-accuracy, as well as the effect of aging on fine motor performance in patients with ID, has been previously investigated. However, only a few data are available on the impact of the nonpharmacological interventions in adult patients with long-term hand motor deficit.
Methods: Fifty adults with mild ID were enrolled. A group of thirty patients underwent a two-month intensive ergotherapic treatment that included hand motor rehabilitation and visual-perceptual treatment (group A); twenty patients performing conventional motor rehabilitation alone (group B) served as a control group. Data on attention, perceptual abilities, hand dexterity, and functional independence were collected by a blind operator, both at entry and at the end of the study.
Results: After the interventions, group A showed significantly better performance than group B in all measures related to hand movement from both sides and to independence in activities of daily living.
Discussion: Multimodal integrated interventions targeting visual-perceptual abilities and motor skills are an effective neurorehabilitative approach in adult patients with mild ID. Motor learning and memory-mediated mechanisms of neural plasticity might underlie the observed recovery, suggesting the presence of plastic adaptive changes even in the adult brain with ID.