Motor overflow in children with developmental coordination disorder: characteristics, quantification and suppression

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a heterogeneous condition characterised by impaired fine and gross motor coordination, along with difficulties in balance and postural control. DCD is a condition of increasing prevalence within school aged children, with current estimates of its incidence around six per cent. The underlying mechanisms of DCD are currently unknown. However, it is thought that neural deficits, including deficits in inhibitory control may contribute to the movement problems experienced by this population. Lack of inhibitory mechanisms displayed by children with DCD typically manifest as motor overflow; involuntary movements of the body occurring during the performance of voluntary movement. However, there is a paucity of literature examining these movements within this population, with available literature indicating that children with DCD merely display increased levels of motor overflow for their chronological age. This doctoral thesis is written as a series of papers, each adding to the understanding of the presentation of motor overflow in children with DCD. The opening paper presents a systematic review, examining evidence for the presence of neurological soft signs in children with DCD. This paper followed the guidelines of the Cochrane review process. Studies were selected if they included a population of children between 5 to 12 years of age with symptoms of poor motor coordination and a diagnosis of Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Motor Perceptual Dysfunction or DCD and a comparison sample of typically developing children. Articles were scored for quality by two reviewers and effect sizes were calculated where appropriate. Ten articles were eligible for inclusion. Quality assessments of the included articles ranged from 25 to 95 per cent. This review indicated that children with movement difficulties present with more abundant neurological soft signs than typically developing children and that low to moderate relationships exist between these soft signs and level of movement proficiency, gender and age. All studies included in this review indicated that children with movement difficulties displayed higher levels of motor overflow than their typically developing peers. However, the methodological limitations of these studies highlighted the need for further research. The second paper in this thesis aimed to examine the severity of motor overflow in much greater detail in children with DCD by comparing the degree and frequency of these movements to a standardised population and across different movement proficiency levels...
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2012


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