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Browsing by Author "Haaman, Tuija"

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  • Haaman, Tuija (2016)
    Aims. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of Nele and Noa in Rainforest intervention on executive functions (EF) of children with intensive special education needs in the school context. The field of research of executive functions is wide and there is no generally accepted definition of executive functions. Previous studies indicate that executive functions play an important role in children's learning and academic performance processes. It is also possible to influence the skills of executive functions with different kinds of interventions. According to previous research, Nele and Noa in Rainforest intervention has demonstrated positive effects on generally supported children's executive functions, but its effectiveness has not been studied on children with intensive special education needs. Children with intensive special education needs have been found to have various challenges in EFs. Interventions aiming to improve EF skills are therefore being called for. Methods. The study involved a total of 57 pupils, aged 5-13years, with intensive special education needs from seven different classes of extended compulsory education. The children were split in two groups. The experimental group (n = 31) performed individual tasks and played the pair and small group games of Nele and Noa in Rainforest intervention while the control group (n = 26) attended school normally and participated in the intervention only after the research data was collected. Intervention continued for six weeks and the experimental group participated in the intervention exercises three times a week. Children's executive function skills were assessed using ATTEX, Attention and executive function rating inventory. Analyses were done with non-parametric analyses, like Mann-Witney U-test and Wilcoxon signed rank test. Results and conclusions. There was a slight positive development of executive function skills in the experimental group in all areas of ATTEX during the intervention, but the results were statistically significant only in the skills of motor hyperactivity and EF – evaluation. The effect sizes of the intervention were medium-sized on total score, shifting of attention and EF -evaluation. The results suggest that it is possible to develope EFs on children with intensive special education needs with the intervention. However, based on this study, it is not possible to draw general conclusions on the effectiveness of the intervention for the EF skills and it calls for future research to investigate the effectiveness of intervention, for example, with a variety of indicators.