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The purpose of this systematic literature review and meta-analysis is to identify the types of interventions in physical therapy contexts that have been explored in children with developmental coordination disorder, the most common variables being addressed, and whether these interventions are effective.
This systematic search of MEDLINE, PEDro, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library identified interventions in physical therapy contexts for children and adolescents with DCD, and studies were screened using these criteria and assessed using the PEDro and NIH quality assessment scales. AMSTAR was used to evaluate systematic reviews and a meta-analysis was conducted.
From the articles reviewed, 29 articles of moderate to good quality were included in the qualitative analysis. Task-oriented approaches as well as motor skill training–based interventions have shown beneficial effects in improving motor function in children with DCD. Data from 14 articles was extracted for inclusion in the meta-analysis, providing support for the effectiveness of physical therapy interventions against inaction.
Researchers recommend the use of task-oriented and traditional physical therapy interventions for children with DCD. In addition, interventions in physical therapy contexts need clear goals and outcome measures for individual children.
Offor and Caçola are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Texas, Arlington, TX. Williamson is with the Library, University of Texas, Arlington, TX.