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Short-term motor learning through non-immersive virtual reality task in individuals with Down syndrome

Abstract

Background: Down syndrome (DS) has unique physical, motor and cognitive characteristics. Despite cognitive and motor difficulties, there is a possibility of intervention based on the knowledge of motor learning. However, it is important to study the motor learning process in individuals with DS during a virtual reality task to justify the use of virtual reality to organize intervention programs. The aim of this study was to analyze the motor learning process in individuals with DS during a virtual reality task. Methods: a total of 40 individuals participated in this study, 20 of whom had DS (24 males and 8 females, mean age of 19 years, ranging between 14-30 yrs.) and 20 typically developing individuals (TD) who were matched by age and gender to the individuals with DS. To examine this issue, we used software that uses 3D images and reproduced a coincidence timing task. Results: The results showed that all individuals improved performance in the virtual task, but the individuals with DS that started the task with worse performance showed higher difference from the beginning. Besides that, they were able to retain and transfer the performance with increase of speed of the task. Discussion: Considering the results, individuals with DS are able to learn movements from virtual tasks, even though the movement time was higher compared to the TD individuals. Conclusion: The results showed that individuals with DS who started with low performance improved coincidence timing task with virtual objects, but were less accurate than typically developing individuals. (AU)

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