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The effects of sensory-motor training on visual perception and sensory-motor performance of moderately retarded children Kelly, Brian John


The subjects who participated in this study, were twenty-one moderately mentally retarded children enrolled in Oakridge School for the mentally retarded in Vancouver, British Columbia. The I.Q. range of the subjects was approximately 30-51. The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of sensory-motor training on the visual perception and sensory-motor performances of the moderately retarded subjects. In addition, the investigation was also designed to question the claims of some proponents of perceptual-motor theory, who have suggested that improvement in the sensory-motor area leads to subsequent improvement in perceptual functioning. The subjects were divided into three groups of seven. Each group was then randomly distributed into one of three treatments. The treatments consisted of two sensory-motor training groups and a control group. The sensory-motor treatments consisted of one program based on the widely-practiced Kephart approach; the second was a series of activities designed by the experimenter. These two training programs allowed for a comparison of the relative effects of the individual treatments on the performance of the subjects. The two activity groups were subjected to thirty half-hour sessions of sensory-motor training over a seven and one-half week period. The control group spent a concurrent amount of time involved in regular special education classroom activities. The Frostig Test of Visual Perception and the Purdue Perceptual-Motor Survey were administered prior to and after the training period. The results were then statistically analysed by a complex analysis of variance and the Scheffe Technique. The following main conclusions were drawn. 1. In the area of visual perception, sensory-motor training was no more effective than regular special education activities in improving performance. 2. Sensory-motor training resulted in performance gains in the sensory-motor area. 3. Improvements in sensory-motor performance did not result in subsequent gains in the visual perception performance. 4. The two programs of sensory-motor training produced similar performances in both the visual perception and sensory-motor areas.

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