Motor Skill Performance and Sports Participation in Deaf Elementary School Children

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Esther HartmanUniversity of Groningen, The Netherlands

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Suzanne HouwenUniversity of Groningen, The Netherlands

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Chris VisscherUniversity of Groningen, The Netherlands

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This study aimed to examine motor performance in deaf elementary school children and its association with sports participation. The population studied included 42 deaf children whose hearing loss ranged from 80 to 120 dB. Their motor skills were assessed with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, and a questionnaire was used to determine their active involvement in organized sports. The deaf children had significantly more borderline and definite motor problems than the normative sample: 62% (manual dexterity), 52% (ball skills), and 45% (balance skills). Participation in organized sports was reported by 43% of the children; these children showed better performance on ball skills and dynamic balance. This study demonstrates the importance of improving deaf children’s motor skill performance, which might contribute positively to their sports participation.

Esther Hartman is with the Center for Human Movement Sciences at the University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Suzanne Houwen and Chris Visscher are also with the Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen and with the University Center for Sport, Exercise, and Health, University Medical Center at the University of Groningen.

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