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Impacts of Developmental Coordination Disorder on Postural Control Mechanisms in Children and Early Adolescents

Sirine Guetiti, Geneviève Cadoret, Félix Chénier, and Mariève Blanchet

Several studies have demonstrated balance impairments in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). However, a recent meta-analysis reports that none of the existing studies investigated the entire construct of balance across the same postural task. It is unclear whether anticipatory postural adjustments before voluntary unperturbed leaning tasks are altered in DCD. Anticipatory postural adjustment’s impact on postural control and limits of stability as well as the contribution of proprioception in these mechanisms are also unknown. This study compared the center of pressure displacements of participants with DCD (n = 30) to typically developing participants (n = 20) (9–12 years old). Standing on an AMTI force plate, participants were asked to lean as far as possible forward, backward, rightward, and leftward in both natural and with eyes closed + foam conditions (eight separated trials). The statistical analysis revealed that the DCD group had larger anticipatory postural adjustments, maximal center of pressure excursion, and greater postural instabilities than the control group. The proprioceptive condition does not systematically influence postural performance in DCD. These deficits are, however, increased in mediolateral directions. These impairments could interfere with children’s performance during daily and physical activities and even negatively impact social inclusion.

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Erratum. SKIPping With PAX: Evaluating the Effects of a Dual-Component Intervention on Gross Motor Skill and Social–Emotional Development

Journal of Motor Learning and Development

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The Handwriting Legibility Scale: A Language and Age Extension for Students With and Without Specific Learning Difficulties

Nichola Stuart, Stefania Zoia, Marina Biancotto, and Anna L. Barnett

Handwriting is a useful skill through education, yet handwriting difficulties are common in students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), including Developmental Coordination Disorder. There are few practical tools to assess legibility, among these the Handwriting Legibility Scale (HLS) shows good reliability and validity for 9- to 14-year-olds in the United Kingdom. The aims of the current study were to investigate applicability of the HLS in students with and without SpLD in (a) another language and (b) older age groups. First, the HLS was translated and applied to writing scripts of 193 9- to 14-year-olds in Italy. Findings support previous work on reliability and validity. A principal component analysis confirmed a single component for the HLS at this age and there was differentiation between scripts from students with and without SpLD. Second, the HLS was applied to writing scripts of 80 15- to 16-year-olds and 120 17- to 25-year-olds in the United Kingdom. Results showed good reliability and differentiation between scripts from students with and without SpLD. A principal component analysis revealed two components for the HLS in the older age groups. Language and age differences in the use of the HLS are discussed, alongside other considerations when applying the tool to help identify handwriting difficulties in students.

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Nature-Based or Traditional Kindergarten to Develop Fundamental Motor Skills? A Pilot Study

Charlotte Skau Pawlowski, Anne Vibild Lammert, Jasper Schipperijn, and Mette Toftager

Environmental characteristics of kindergartens are important for the development of kindergarten-aged children. However, knowledge of the role of kindergarten play environments in developing children’s fundamental movement skills is limited. A pilot study was carried out to compare the fundamental movement skills of 3.5- to 5-year-old children in two kindergarten groups. One group had access to a traditional playground, an indoor room for active play, and had weekly trips. The other group had access to a nature-based playground. Fundamental movement skills were measured using the short form of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, second edition test. In total, 28 children participated—11 children attended the kindergarten group with the traditional playground, and 17 children attended the kindergarten group with the nature-based playground. The total test score was 14.64 for children with access to a traditional playground and 16.71 for children with access to a nature-based playground. However, no statistically significant difference between the groups in total test score and the individual tests was found. It might be that space and diversity of features are more important than exposure to nature. In future research, more robust longitudinal studies with larger samples are required to investigate different kindergarten playground designs and environmental features related to motor skill development.

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Erratum. Do Fundamental Movement Skill Domains in Early Childhood Predict Engagement in Physical Activity of Varied Intensities Later at School Age? A 3-Year Longitudinal Study

Journal of Motor Learning and Development

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Correlates of Fundamental Motor Skills in the Early Years (0–4 Years): A Systematic Review

Sanne L.C. Veldman, Jessica S. Gubbels, Amika S. Singh, Johan M. Koedijker, Mai J.M. Chinapaw, and Teatske M. Altenburg

Aim: This systematic review aims to summarize evidence on correlates of fundamental motor skills in typically developing children aged 0–4 years. Methods: A literature search (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, and SPORTDiscus) was performed from 2000 till 23 May 2022. Inclusion criteria was cross-sectional and prospective studies examining associations between a potential correlate and fundamental motor skills in typically developing, apparently healthy children aged 0–4 years. Two independent reviewers performed screening and methodological quality assessment. Results: Eighty-three studies met eligibility criteria and were included. Thirteen studies were of high methodological quality. In children aged <1 year, we found no evidence for family income, breastfeeding-related, sleep-related, home environment, and socioeconomic variables. In children aged 1–2 years, we found no evidence for sex, growth-related variables, singleton birth, and family income. In children aged 2–4 years, we found no evidence for screen behavior, toxicity, parental education, family income, socioeconomic variables, and maternal depression/anxiety and moderate evidence for a positive association with early childhood education and care setting type. For other examined correlates, we found insufficient evidence (inconsistent findings or only one study available). Conclusions: We found insufficient evidence for over half of examined potential correlates of fundamental motor skills. We recommend investing in better research methodologies and improved reporting.

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Dynamic Lower Limb Alignment During Jumping in Preschool Children: Normative Profiles and Sex Differences

Steen Harsted, Lise Hestbæk, Anders Holsgaard-Larsen, and Henrik Hein Lauridsen

The natural development of static lower limb varus/valgus alignments during early childhood is well understood. However, our understanding of dynamic lower limb frontal plane alignments is limited, and we lack normative descriptions of this phenomenon for both boys and girls. This study investigated dynamic lower limb alignment during jump-landings in preschool children, focusing on associations with sex, age, and motor performance. Dynamic lower limb alignment was measured as the Knee-to-Ankle Separation Ratio (KASR) in 605 children aged 3–6 years using markerless motion capture. Based on KASR measurements, we categorized the children into three kinematic groups: Valgus, Intermediate, and Varus. Median KASR scores were 0.86 (0.80–0.96) overall, 0.89 (0.81–0.98) for boys, and 0.85 (0.78–0.92) for girls. Over 75% of the children exhibited some level of dynamic knee valgus during jump-landings (KASR < 1). However, roughly two-thirds of the children in the Valgus group were girls. Age-adjusted differences in motor performance were small and only statistically significant for jump height and length in girls. These findings suggest that dynamic knee valgus during jump-landings is a common occurrence in preschool children, especially among girls. The potential relationship between dynamic lower limb alignment and age and motor performance warrants further investigation.

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Do Fundamental Movement Skill Domains in Early Childhood Predict Engagement in Physical Activity of Varied Intensities Later at School Age? A 3-Year Longitudinal Study

Maria Kasanen, Arto Laukkanen, Donna Niemistö, Jimi Kotkajuuri, Nanne-Mari Luukkainen, and Arja Sääkslahti

This study was conducted to determine how total fundamental movement skill (FMS) score and, separately, locomotor skill (LMS), and object control skill scores in children 3–8 years old predicted their specific-intensity physical activity 3 years later. Overall, 441 Finnish children (51.7% female, baseline mean age of 5.6 years) participated in the study. Total FMS, LMS, and object control skill scores were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development, third edition. The time spent engaged in physical activity of different intensities (light, moderate, vigorous, moderate-to-vigorous, light-to-vigorous, and sedentary behavior) was determined using accelerometers. A two-level regression model was used in the analysis, considering potential covariates and interactions. The results showed that moderate physical activity, vigorous physical activity, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were predicted by the total FMS score (β = 0.177 to 0.203, p = .001–.003) and the LMS score (β = 0.140 to 0.164, p = .004–.014), but not the object control skill score. Moreover, the LMS score inversely predicted sedentary behavior (β = −0.116, p = .042). In conclusion, higher FMS and, specifically, LMS scores seem to predict more engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and less sedentary behavior over time. However, most of the variance in physical activity remains unexplained.

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Social Media as a Tool for Understanding the Role of Motor Differences in Neurodivergent Identity and Lived Experience

Haylie L. Miller

Social media offers an exciting opportunity for the field of motor development and behavior research. With platforms such as Twitter offering access to historical data from users’ public bios and posts, there is untapped potential to examine community perspectives on the role of motor differences in identity and lived experience. Analysis of online discourse offers advantages over traditional qualitative methods like structured interviews or focus groups, including a less-contrived setting, global geographic and cultural representation, and ease of sampling. The aim of this special section is to present a pipeline for harvesting and analysis of Twitter data related to users’ identities and discourse characteristics, specifically situated in the context of motor development and behavior. This pipeline is demonstrated in two independent studies, one on autistic users and one on developmental coordination disorder (DCD)/dyspraxic users. These studies demonstrate the utility of Twitter data for research on neurodivergent and disabled people’s perspectives on their motor differences, and whether they are expressed as part of their identity. Implications of results are discussed for each study, as well as in the larger context of future research using a variety of approaches to analysis of social media data, including those from predominantly image- and video-based platforms.

Open access

Interrater Reliability of the Test of Gross Motor Development—Third Edition Following Raters’ Agreement on Measurement Criteria

Aida Carballo-Fazanes, Ezequiel Rey, Nadia C. Valentini, Cristina Varela-Casal, and Cristian Abelairas-Gómez

We aimed to calculate interrater reliability of the Test of Gross Motor Development—Third Edition (TGMD-3) after raters reached a consensus regarding measurement criteria. Three raters measured the fundamental movement skills of 25 children on the TGMD-3 at two different times: (a) once when simply following the measurement criteria in the TGMD-3 manual and (b) after a 9-month washout period, following the raters’ consensus building for the measurement criteria for each skill. After calculating and comparing the interrater reliability of these three raters across these two rating times, we found improved interrater reliability after the raters’ consensus-building discussions on ratings of both locomotor skills (moderate-to-good reliability on two of six skills initially and at least moderate-to-excellent on four of six skills following criteria consensus building) and ball skills (moderate-to-good reliability on one of seven skills initially and at least moderate-to-excellent reliability on four of seven skills following criteria consensus building). For subtest scores and overall test scores, raters achieved at least moderate-to-good reliability on their second, postconsensus-building ratings. Based on this improved reliability following consensus building, we recommend that researchers include rater consensus building before assessing children’s fundamental movement skills or guiding curriculum interventions in physical education from TGMD-3 data.