The nature of intra- and interlimb (bimanual) coordination was examined in ten boys with (M = 10.5 years, SD = 1.0) and without DCD (M = 10.8 years, SD = .9) in a two-handed catching task. Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) caught significantly fewer balls (MDCD = 56%, SD = 17.6 vs. MnoDCD = 93%, SD = 7.5), and both groups solved the “degrees of freedom problem” differently at intralimb level of coordination. Typically developing children coupled and decoupled the respective spatial relations, whereas the majority of children with DCD segmented their actions. At interlimb level, both groups exhibited a comparable degree of spatial symmetry. However, individual profiles also showed that children with varying degrees of movement issues exhibited movement patterns that were qualitatively and functionally diverse. Overall, in the context of previous research on interlimb coordination it appears that spatial, in addition to temporal organization, may be jeopardized in at least some children with DCD.
Eryk P. Przysucha and Brian K.V. Maraj
Shannon D. Ringenbach, Romeo Chua, Brian K. V. Maraj, James C. Kao and Daniel J. Weeks
Previous experiments involving discrete unimanual tasks have shown that individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have auditory/verbal-motor deficits. The present study investigated unimanual and bimanual continuous perceptual-motor actions in adults with DS. Ten adults with DS, 10 typical adults, and 10 children drew continuous circles at increasing periods bimanually and unimanually with each hand. Movement was paced by either a visual or an auditory metronome. The results revealed that for circle shape and coordination measures, children and adults were more accurate with the visual metronome, whereas adults with DS were more accurate with the auditory metronome. In the unimanual tasks, adults with DS displayed hand asymmetries on spatial measures. In the bimanual task, however, adults with DS adopted an in-phase coordination pattern and stability more similar to adults than children. These results suggest that bimanual coordination in adults with DS is functioning effectively despite hand asymmetries evident in unimanual performance.
Robert H. Wood, Rafael Reyes-Alvarez, Brian Maraj, Kristi L. Metoyer and Michael A. Welsch
It has been suggested that physical and cognitive functions are associated with health-related quality of life (HRQL). Previous work examining the relationship between physical ability and HRQL is equivocal, and information about cognitive function in relation to HRQL is largely restricted to people with cognitive impairments. We investigated the relationships of physical ability and cognitive performance to HRQL in 44 older adults (72-93 years). The results suggest significant relationships between the endurance item of the AAHPERD test and the physical mobility and pain components of HRQL and between AAHPERD agility scores and the physical mobility component of HRQL. Visual simple-reaction time and the backward digit-span memory test were found to be related to physical mobility. The subject-performed-tasks memory test was related to the social component of HRQL. These data support the use of the AAHPERD test for characterizing physical ability of older adults as it relates to HRQL and identify specific cognitive support measures that reflect the relationship between cognition and HRQL in older adults.
Brian K.V. Maraj, Li Li, Rebecca Hillman, Jennifer J. Jeansonne and Shannon D. Ringenbach
This study examined motor learning in persons with Down syndrome (DS), persons with undifferentiated developmental disabilities (UnDD), and persons without disabilities (ND). Participants were instructed (either by verbal instruction or visual demonstration) to move a cursor to three items displayed on a computer screen. Results indicated that the ND group had superior performances to the other two groups for both instruction conditions. Participants with DS performed the task with both longer response and movement times when instructed verbally. In a transfer condition, results revealed the UnDD group displayed poor transfer, while participants with DS showed positive transfer from visual to verbal protocols. These results provide some evidence that persons with DS may be able to consolidate visual information to facilitate verbal-motor learning.