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Sheila E. Henderson and Leslie Henderson

We consider three issues concerning unexpected difficulty in the acquisition of motor skills: terminology, diagnosis, and intervention. Our preference for the label Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) receives justification. Problems in diagnosis are discussed, especially in relation to the aetiology-dominated medical model. The high degree of overlap between DCD and other childhood disorders appears to militate against its acceptance as a distinct syndrome. In this context, we emphasize the need to determine whether incoordination takes different forms when it occurs alone is combined with general developmental delay or with other specific disorders in children of normal intelligence. Studies of intervention have mostly shown positive effects but do not, as yet, allow adjudication between different sorts of content. We suggest that the study of DCD and its remediation would benefit greatly from the employment of the simple but rich paradigms developed for the experimental analysis of fully formed adult movement skills.

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Edited by Sheila E. Henderson

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Denis H. Stott, Sheila E. Henderson and Fred A. Moyes

This article describes the approach to testing that guided the recent revision of the Test of Motor Impairment (TOMI). Traditional attempts to measure intrinsic ability lent themselves to the labeling of children as defective. A test score should be regarded rather as a record of available capabilities. Performance depends on the abilities a child brings into play; the use of abilities and the development of skills depend in turn on motivational-emotional factors. Moreover, a composite score does not provide information about the reasons for failure. These considerations led to the compilation of qualitative diagnostic aids. The first directs the tester’s attention to the nature of a child’s failure of motor control, the second to behavioral sources of poor performance. The third checklist is a task-by-task, process-oriented analysis of motor faults designed for clinical diagnosis and professional training. In providing a detailed picture of a child’s performance, the TOMI bridges the gap between assessment and therapy and provides instrumentation for systematic, measurable therapy.

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Sheila E. Henderson, Sheelagh M. Illingworth and John Allen

This study addressed the question of whether there is a specific reaction time deficit in individuals with Down syndrome. To investigate this question, the manual and vocal reaction times of 18 Down syndrome and 2 control groups were compared. One control group consisted of intellectually handicapped children matched on intellectual ability, the other consisted of younger nonhandicapped children also of similar mental age. The results confirmed that a specific RT deficit does indeed exist and is present for both manual and vocal responses.

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Denis H. Stott, Sheila E. Henderson and Fred A. Moyes

The lack of a system for the analysis and diagnosis of handwriting incompetence has led to the neglect of this area of learning failure. This article describes a new instrument, the Diagnosis and Remediation of Handwriting Problems (DRHP) (Stott, Moyes, & Henderson, 1984b), that has been designed to fill this hiatus. Handwriting problems are divided into (a) faults of concept and style, which reflect failures of learning or teaching, and (b) faults of motor control, which suggest fine-motor or perceptual dysfunction and may have a neurological origin. Specimens of children’s handwriting illustrate this categorization. The methodology of the remedial programs proposed by the DRHP is based on empirical findings about the nature of handwriting movements. These programs are briefly described. There is a need for handwriting specialists to advise teachers and help in the diagnosis of problems. It is suggested that physical education teachers be trained to develop these skills.

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Susanna M.K. Chow, Yung-Wen Hsu, Sheila E. Henderson, Anna L. Barnett and Sing Kai Lo

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the suitability of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (M-ABC) for use in Greater China. Chinese children numbering 255 between the ages of 4 and 6 from Hong Kong and 544 from Taiwan were tested individually on the standardized test contained within the M-ABC. Data from these 799 children were compared to that presented in the test manual for the 493 children of the same age comprising the United States standardization sample. Both within-culture and cross-cultural differences were statistically significant when all items of the M-ABC were examined simultaneously, but effect sizes were too low to be considered meaningful. However, descriptive analysis of the cut-off scores used for impairment detection on the test suggested that adjustments to some items would be desirable for these particular Chinese populations.