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Ken Pitetti, Ruth Ann Miller and E. Michael Loovis

Motor proficiency facilitates major body movements, such as walking, maintaining balance (BAL), coordination, and jumping. Adequate skill levels of motor proficiency/competence affect the general physical activity levels and physical fitness of children and adolescents ( Hands, Larkin, Parker

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Deborah Hoare

Although the heterogeneity of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) has been well documented, the search for subtypes within the DCD population with distinguishable profiles has been limited. The present study investigated whether a group of 80 children identified as having DCD could be classified into subtypes based on their performances on six perceptuo-motor tasks. Five clusters were identified and are discussed in terms of current understanding of DCD. This exploratory study supports the notion of heterogeneity within DCD samples, with five patterns of dysfunction emerging.

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Cameron O’Beirne, Dawne Larkin and Tim Cable

Generally, children with coordination problems lack fitness and muscular strength. This study was designed to identify whether these children differed from age-matched controls on measures of anaerobic performance. Twenty-four boys who were poorly coordinated, from three age groups, 7, 8, and 9 years, were compared to 24 coordinated controls (N = 48). The McCarron (1982) Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND) was used to confirm levels of coordination. Anaerobic performance was estimated with the Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAnT) and a 50-m run. The poorly coordinated group’s performance on the WAnT was significantly lower than the performance of the controls for measures of peak power normalized for body weight, absolute and normalized mean power, and the fatigue index. The subjects who were poorly coordinated were also significantly slower performing the 50-m sprint. There was a significant relationship between power measured on the WAnT and coordination measured by the MAND gross motor score. For this population, coordination problems were considered among the factors that may interfere with the measurement of anaerobic performance.

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Annlaug Flem Maeland

This study focuses on identification of children with motor coordination problems and investigates whether the incidence of children with such problems in a normal school setting in Norway is comparable to that found in other countries using the same tests and criteria. The study also examines whether there would be any agreement between two motor tests, the Test of Motor Proficiency (TMP) and the Test of Motor Impairment (TOMI), and teachers’ judgment in identifying clumsiness among 360 children 10 years of age. The results showed that while the three different assessment methods identified about the same number of children with such problems (5-5.6%), each measure identified a somewhat different set of children. The lack of agreement demonstrates the difficulty in assessing subtle motor coordination problems or clumsiness.

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Mark A. Mon-Williams, Eve Pascal and John P. Wann

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) occurs in a small number of children who present with impaired body/eye coordination. No study of ophthalmic function in DCD exists despite vision’s primary role in perception. Ocular performance was therefore assessed with a battery of tests. Five hundred children aged between 5 and 7 years were involved in the study. Diagnosis of DCD was confirmed for 29 children by the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (ABC); 29 control children were randomly selected. Comprehensive examination with a battery of ophthalmic tests did not reveal any significant difference in visual status between the two groups. Strabismus was found in 5 children from both groups. All 5 children with strabismus from the DCD group showed a similar movement profile with the Motor Competence Checklist. While a causal relationship cannot be discounted, the presence of strabismus appears more likely to be a “hard” neurological sign of central damage common to this group. The evidence seems to indicate that a simple ophthalmic difficulty does not explain problems with movement control.

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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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Allen W. Burton

Adapted physical education specialists must design and carry out programs for students with movement coordination problems, but intervention strategies for such students are rarely included in adapted physical education textbooks. In response to the lack of information available to practitioners, the purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework for better understanding movement coordination, to briefly review some of the methods used by both researchers and practitioners to assess coordination, and to present some possible strategies for addressing movement coordination deficits. Two types of coordination solutions are discussed—neuromotor and mechanical—and specific activity progressions are given for jumping jacks and overhand throwing.

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Betty Rose, Dawne Larkin and Bonnie G. Berger

Perceived competence and global self-worth of children who were poorly coordinated (n = 68) and children who were well-coordinated (n = 62) were examined. Measures of perceived athletic and scholastic competence, social acceptance, physical appearance, behavioral conduct, and global self-worth were obtained using Harter’s (1985) Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC). Girls and boys, ages 8 to 12, were categorized as poorly coordinated or well-coordinated using their scores on the McCarron (1982) Neuromuscular Development battery. Univariate analyses, using a 2 × 2 design (Coordination × Gender), showed a main effect of coordination in all domains, with the poorly coordinated group having the lower mean scores. In the scholastic, behavioral, and global sphere, coordination by gender interactions were influenced by the high perceptions of the well-coordinated girls. The interactions demonstrated for scholastic and global domains also were influenced by the low perceptions of the girls with poor coordination. Self-perceptions were modified by gender and coordination.

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Shannon D. Ringenbach and Dawn A. Lantero

This study examined the influences of intention on continuous bimanual circle drawing performed by adults with Down syndrome (DS) and mental age (MA) and chronological age (CA) matched comparison groups. The task was performed with preferred and instructed coordination patterns paced by a 500 ms metronome. While all participants adopted an in-phase coordination mode in the preferred conditions, only the adults with DS were unable to perform in-phase coordination when instructed to do so. We suggest that intention to perform specific coordination patterns taxes the attentional resources available, and mental age may be a precipitating factor to appropriate attention directing when performing multiple tasks. Results are discussed with respect to the developmental differences in attentional resources.

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Patrick J. DiRocco, Jane E. Clark and Sally J. Phillips

The purpose of the study was to determine if mildly mentally retarded (MMR) children followed the same developmental sequence of coordination for the propulsive phase of the standing long jump as their nonhandicapped (NH) peers. Subjects for the study included 39 MMR and 90 NH children, ages 4-7 years. Each subject was filmed performing several standing long jumps. Jumping patterns were analyzed from the film records, and distance jumped also was determined from the film. Results indicated that the arm and leg patterns of coordination proposed for NH children by Clark and Phillips (1985) were comprehensive enough to include the MMR children. In spite of similar patterns of coordination, the age group means for the distance jumped by the MMR subjects were 2 to 3 years behind their NH peers. Two explanations are offered for this deficit in distance jumped: first, there may be differences in coordination between the arm and leg action, and second, there may be differences in control mechanisms.