By Sally Goddard Blythe
This paper provides a summary of findings from a series of independent studies that have been undertaken separately. The studies used a specific developmental test battery – the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology (INPP) Developmental Test Battery for use in schools with children with special educational needs – with a total of 810 children, the object being to assess whether neurological dysfunction was a significant factor underlying academic achievement. All children were tested using the INPP Developmental Test Battery together with additional standard educational measures to assess drawing and reading at the beginning and end of the programme. The progress of 339 children aged four to five years of age was tracked through the school year to see whether children with higher scores on the INPP Developmental Test Battery (indications of neurological dysfunction) performed less well academically at the end of the school year. A smaller number of children in mainstream classes (235 children) aged eight to ten years undertook a specific programme of developmental exercises (The INPP Schools’ Developmental Exercise Programme) for ten minutes a day under teacher supervision over the course of one academic year. Two hundred and five children aged 8/10 years also underwent the INPP Tests but did not take part in the Developmental Exercise Programme. The third group acted as a control group. No pre-selection was made among these groups at the beginning of the study. One study included a fourth group of 31 children who were given non-specific exercises for the same time period each day as the experimental group (INPP exercises) to see whether general daily exercises were more or less effective than the specific INPP exercises. Children in this study were seven to nine years of age. The results showed that the children who participated in the daily INPP exercises made significantly greater improvement on measures for neurological dysfunction, balance and coordination. Children who had scores of more than 25% on tests for neurological dysfunction and whose reading age was less than their chronological age at the outset also showed small but significantly greater progress in reading than children who did not take part in the programme.
Blythe, S. G. (2005). Releasing Educational Potential Through Movement: A Summary of Individual Studies Carried Out Using the INPP Test Battery and Developmental Exercise Programme for use in Schools with Children with Special Needs. Child Care in Practice, 11(4), 415–432. doi: 10.1080/13575270500340234