Effects of Intellectual Disability and Sport Expertise on Cognitive-Motor Dual-Task Performance
Intellectual disability (ID) is per definition characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (IQ≤75), but it is well documented that many individuals with ID also have motor function deficits such as poor balance control. Balance control is one of the two most important human motor skills (in combination with gait) required for mobility. It remains unclear whether the poor balance control of people with ID should be attributed to extrinsic cases (e.g., lower level of physical activity), or to intrinsic causes (e.g., inadequate development of the central nervous system) or to a combination of both. It remains unclear to what extent impaired cognition constrains the ability to perform complex motor skills and to what extent specific interventions or sport expertise could reduce the differences between people with and without ID. Within the proposed research project a unique examination of existing knowledge gaps will be initiated by means of the Cognitive-Motor Dual Task (DT) approach; instead of focusing on cognitive & motor tasks in isolation, we will apply the DT paradigm to investigate the relation between impaired cognition and balance control. The hypothesis is that individuals with ID have limited resources available to successfully combine fundamental motor skills with concurrent cognitive demands. Insight in the mechanisms underlying balance deficits in ID will contribute to develop evidencebased interventions and to improve quality of life.