Article Summary: FAST Club: The Impact of a Physical Activity Intervention on Executive Function in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Background

Physical activity (PA) has shown to be beneficial for those with FASD. However, few studies have been done on PA in the FASD population, and PA programs targeting those with FASD are not common yet. This study talks about the physical activity program, FAST Club, for children with FASD, where they were paired with an adult to help them through a series of games, exercises, and skill development activities, meant to be fun and helpful for children with FASD.

FAST Track program

The FAST track program looked at fine motor skills, coordination, strength, and agility. Exercises included running, playing games where problem-solving was required, and activities where children had to make quick decisions.

The program helped children with:

  • Strength and balance
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Speed and agility
  • Upper-limb coordination and fine motor skills 

How physical activity helps those with FASD

PA has been shown to be beneficial for those with FASD in the areas of:

  • Working memory
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Planning 

In order for a PA program to be most effective:

  • The intervention program should be tailored to the individual, and be supported/provided by the community
  • The child should be given choice, and the program should be a fun and positive experience for them
  • The program should be consistent, structured, and supervised
  • Children should be praised for their achievements and strengths 

Recommendations

  • More research studies should be done to find out the right amount of time spent engaging in PA, the intensity, and the type of PA to help those with FASD
  • How effective PA is for a child with FASD will depend on their level of development, age and other factors, therefore we need to find the proper ‘dose’ of PA for each individual. Continuing one-on-one mentorships such as the one used in FAST Track, would help in figuring out what the individual needs.
  • Even though this program targeted children before puberty, intervention programs such as this would be useful at any age 

Take Home Message

More programs are needed within schools and communities for children with FASD. These programs are fairly easy to start, and show a lot of potential for helping individuals with FASD with their cognitive functioning, with effects which will continue into adulthood.

For more information:

Authors: Alison B. Pritchard Orr, Kathy Keiver, Chris P. Bertram, Sterling Clarren

Journal: Human Kinetics Journals

1 Response

  1. debby Curry

    Is there a more detailed template to describe the activity stations? I think it is an excellent idea to be rolled out by a collaboration of of services. I noticed that the town of Smiths Falls is sponsoring a open gym/parent coffee activity.

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