Multisensory training improves the development of spatial cognition after sight restoration from congenital cataracts
In the present study, we developed and applied a multisensory training procedure to improve space representation and mobility in children and adolescents who have been surgically treated for congenital cataracts several years after birth. The training associated augmented audio-visual feedback with body movements. Ethiopian cataract-treated participants improved their space representation and their ability to navigate the environment after only one week of training. The improvement was comparable to that of a group of blind children, who underwent a training procedure that coupled their movements with auditory feedback alone. The present findings suggest that spatial cognition and sensorimotor spatial skills can be enhanced by a targeted training program which strengthens the natural association between bodily movements and their sensory feedback (in this case, either auditory or audio-visual augmented feedback). We evaluated the effectiveness of the training via a series of tests administered to participants before and after the training. The present dataset includes all the data of cataract-treated participants (Post-op) and blind participants (Blind) before and after the training and includes a group of typically-sighted control participants (Sighted) and a group of visually-impaired controls (Blind and low-vision controls) who took part in control psychomotor activities. Each sheet of the Excel file reports all trials for each test (auditory and visual localization, auditory space bisection, mobility: reaching for sounds, mobility: time up and go, body midline, and grasping) for each of the 4 groups (Post-op, Blind, Sighted, Blind and low-vision controls). The last sheet reports the follow-up tests that we conducted on a subset of the participants. The legend for each test is reported in the first rows of each sheet.