Motor learning in children with developmental coordination disorder: The role of focus of attention and working memory
Number of pages
SourceHuman Movement Science, 62, (2018), pp. 211-220
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Human Movement Science
SubjectAll institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Learning and Plasticity; Radboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Effective motor learning paradigms are essential for children with motor difficulties to enhance their motor skills and facilitate performance in physical activities and in daily life. This study aimed to examine the effect of feedback with an internal or external focus of attention on motor learning of children with probable Developmental Coordination Disorder (pDCD). In addition, the role of working memory capacity was examined. Children were recruited via physical therapists, who integrated the experimental procedures within therapy sessions. We analyzed data of 25 children between 5 and 11 years old. They practiced a novel motor task of throwing a 'slingerball' over three weeks, while receiving feedback with an internal or external focus of attention. Results showed that children improved throwing accuracy regardless of the type of feedback they received. Visuospatial working memory capacity enhanced learning, especially for children receiving feedback with an external focus of attention. These findings corroborate clinical recommendations stating that children with DCD benefit from task specific training and feedback, which is promoted with both foci of attention. However, the findings contrast the expected benefits of practice with an external focus of attention. It highlights that the exact mechanisms and task constraints that influence the learning processes with an internal and external focus among children are not yet understood and warrant further study.
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