Loss of functioning and age-related health problems tend to appear earlier in individuals with intellectual disability (ID) than in their non-disabled peers. The Feldenkrais method (FM) is a movement-based form of learning that enhances body balance and physical functioning. We carried out an intervention based on Awareness Through Movement, a form of the FM. Thirty-two middle-aged (48.94±6.01years old) adults with ID who were in supported employment were recruited and randomly assigned to the experimental group (EG) or control group (CG). The EG received 30 Awareness Through Movement classes while the CG did not receive any movement-based intervention. Physical functioning (body balance, gait speed and chair stands) was assessed with the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) and balance by stabilometry. After 30 FM classes, individuals in the EG had significantly improved their chair stand test score (p<0.005) and SPPB total score (p<0.005), and reduced their sway area (p<0.05) in the stabilometric test. These results indicate that the FM could be a good tool for the prevention of loss of functioning and body balance in middle-aged individuals with ID.
Keywords: Balance; Feldenkrais Method; Intellectual disability; Short Physical Performance Battery; Stabilometry.
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