Second-order motor planning difficulties in children with developmental coordination disorder
Number of pages
SourceHuman Movement Science, 79, (2021), article 102836
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
SW OZ BSI AO
Human Movement Science
SubjectLearning and Plasticity; Work, Health and Performance
The second-order motor planning ability of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) has often been studied using tasks that require judgements of end-state comfort (ESC). In these studies, children may have chosen to prioritize other aspects of performance (e.g., a comfortable start-posture) over ESC while still being able to complete the goal of the task. This is a limitation that is inherent to previously used ESC paradigms. To avoid this in the present study, 52 children with and without DCD (aged 5-12 years) completed a task that requires second-order motor planning for its successful completion. In the hexagonal knob task, children were instructed to grasp and rotate a hexagonal knob. The rotation angle varied in size: 60°, 120°, 180°, and 240° rotations. Both the 180° and 240° rotation conditions required an uncomfortable starting posture for successful task completion. Results showed that children with DCD were less likely to adjust their initial grip in anticipation of the required rotation angle, resulting in more task failures compared with typically developing (TD) children. Based on this finding we conclude that children with DCD experience genuine second-order motor planning difficulties. Analysis of temporal outcomes, showed that initial reaction time increased with rotation angle, but this was less pronounced for children with DCD than for TD children. There were no between group differences in timing of subsequent events. These results suggest that the difficulties of children with DCD are related to the initial planning process, that is, before the start of the movement.
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