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Lisa M. Silliman and Ron French

The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of preferred verbal praise and music reinforcement on improving the soccer kick performances of youths with profound mental retardation (PMR). Subjects (N = 15) were randomly assigned to three groups. Based on visual inspection and the split-middle technique, all three groups (i.e., control, verbal praise, and music reinforcer) improved performances in their kicking accuracy. Comparison of graphed mean data of the three groups, by visual inspection and the split-middle technique, showed that the verbal praise and music reinforcement groups had higher scores than the control group. Visual inspection of 2-week follow-up data revealed that both experimental groups maintained higher scores than the control group. In addition, all of the subjects had the ability to generalize this kicking skill into a physical recreation environment.

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Lisa Silliman-French, Ron French, Claudine Sherrill, and Barbara Gench

The purpose was to determine the effectiveness of three feedback conditions (aversive tone, preferred music, and no feedback) on time-on-task of correct upper body postural alignment in adults with profound mental retardation (PMR). Participants were seven adults (3 males and 4 females), ages 25 to 34. A randomized multiple-treatment design with generalization and follow-up phases was used. Participants received three randomly assigned conditions each day for a total of 45 sessions over 15 days. Five of the participants increased time-on-task in response to preferred music, whereas two participants increased time-on-task in response to both aversive tone and preferred music. Friedman two-way analysis of variance indicated that music was significantly more effective than other conditions. It was concluded that preferred music feedback is, at least minimally, effective in improving time-on-task of upper body postural alignment of adults with PMR.

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Gholamali Owlia, Ron French, Vic Ben-Ezra, and Lisa M. Silliman

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the influence of audio (cassette tapes) and audiovisual (music videotapes) reinforcers on motorized bicycle ergometer time-on-task performance of 5 adolescents who were profoundly mentally retarded (PMR). The groups that received audio and audiovisual reinforcers had significantly higher time-on-task performance compared to subjects who received no reinforcement. However, there was no significant difference between audio and audiovisual reinforcers. It was concluded that music and videotapes with music can be effectively used to improve the performance of adolescents who are PMR when riding a stationary motorized bicycle ergometer.

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Amanda Young, Seán Healy, Lisa Silliman-French, and Ali Brian

To inform the development of scalable and sustainable fundamental motor skill interventions for children with Down syndrome, this study examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of Project Skill Intervention Implemented by Parents (Project SKIP), a web-based, parent-mediated intervention intended to improve ball skills among children with Down syndrome. Twenty-four families enrolled in the study (including 13 boys and 11 girls; M age = 4.92). Fourteen children were assigned to an experimental group and participated in the 6-week intervention, and 10 children served as the inactive comparison group. The Test of Gross Motor Development-3 was administered preintervention and postintervention. In addition, parents of children in the experimental group completed a postintervention survey to assess their perceptions of Project SKIP. Following the intervention, there was a significant improvement in ball skills (p = .023, d = 0.86) for children in the experimental group, whereas the comparison group did not show significant improvement. Moreover, parents perceived Project SKIP to be feasible and effective; all parents reported being satisfied with their overall experience in the program, and 11 parents indicated that their child’s fundamental motor skills were positively influenced by the intervention. Engagement was high, with the majority of parents (n = 8, 57%) interacting with Project SKIP content three to four times a week.

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Leah S. Goudy, Brandon Rhett Rigby, Lisa Silliman-French, and Kevin A. Becker

The purpose of this study was to determine changes in balance, postural sway, and quality of life after 6 wk of simulated horseback riding in adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Eight older adults completed two 60-min riding sessions weekly for 6 wk. Variables of balance, postural sway, and quality of life were measured 6 wks before and within 1 wk before and after the intervention. Berg Balance Scale scores decreased from baseline to preintervention (48.36 ± 5.97 vs. 45.86 ± 6.42, p = .050) and increased from preintervention to postintervention (45.86 ± 6.42 vs. 50.00 ± 4.38, p = .002). Cognitive impairment, a dimension of quality of life, improved from baseline to postintervention (37.5 ± 20.5 vs. 21.5 ± 14.4, p = .007). Six weeks of simulated horseback riding may improve balance and cognitive impairment in older adults with Parkinson’s disease.