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Phillip D. Tomporowski and Larry D. Jameson

Institutionalized severely and profoundly mentally retarded adults participated in two exercise programs. One group of 19 subjects performed a circuit-training regimen consisting of treadmill walking, stationary bicycle riding, rowing, and calisthenics. Exercise sessions lasted 60 minutes and were performed every third day during an 18-week training period. A second group of 19 subjects participated in an 18-week jogging regimen which consisted of running distances of 1/2, 1, or 1 1/2 miles each session. The exercise requirements in both programs were increased progressively during the course of training. Subjects adapted quickly to both exercise regimens and almost all improved their physical endurance and ability to exercise. It is suggested that the highly motivating characteristics of exercise may provide educators with a training medium through which new skills can be taught to severely and profoundly mentally retarded adults.

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Phillip D. Tomporowski and Norman R. Ellis

The effectiveness of using behavior shaping techniques to prepare nine institutionalized severely and profoundly mentally retarded adults for tests of motor fitness was assessed. Three severely mentally retarded subjects served as the executive subjects in a yoked-control study. Each executive subject was paired randomly with two profoundly mentally retarded subjects. A three-phase multiple baseline experiment was then conducted with executive subjects; yoked subjects received the same intervention as their executive partner. The training program consisted of a verbal instruction baseline phase, a modeling phase, and a graduated guidance phase. Tasks used for training were the shuttle run and standing long jump. Modeling instruction produced minimal improvement in subject performance; however, graduated guidance instruction produced marked, immediate improvement in the performance of six of nine subjects on both tasks. These results suggest that physical prompting techniques will prepare some, but not all, severely and profoundly mentally retarded adults for motor fitness testing.