1: Bonney E, Jelsma D, Ferguson G, Smits-Engelsman B. Variable training does not lead to better motor learning compared to repetitive training in children with and without DCD when exposed to active video games. Res Dev Disabil. 2017 Jan 31;62:124-136. Full text
BACKGROUND:Little is known about the influence of practice schedules on motor learning and skills transfer in children with and without developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Understanding how practice schedules affect motor learning is necessary for motor skills development and rehabilitation.
AIMS:The study investigated whether active video games (exergames) training delivered under variable practice led to better learning and transfer than repetitive practice.
METHODS AND PROCEDURES: 111 children aged 6-10 years (M=8.0, SD=1.0) with no active exergaming experience were randomized to receive exergames training delivered under variable (Variable Game Group (VGG), n=56) or repetitive practice schedule (Repetitive Game Group (RGG), n=55). Half the participants were identified as DCD using the DSM-5 criteria, while the rest were typically developing (TD), age-matched children. Both groups participated in two 20min sessions per week for 5 weeks.
OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Both participant groups (TD and DCD) improved equally well on game performance. There was no significant difference in positive transfer to balance tasks between practice schedules (Repetitive and Variable) and participant groups (TD and DCD).
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Children with and without DCD learn balance skills quite well when exposed to exergames. Gains in learning and transfer are similar regardless of the form of practice schedule employed.
WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: This is the first paper to compare the effect of practice schedules on learning in children with DCD and those with typical development. No differences in motor learning were found between repetitive and variable practice schedules. When children with and without DCD spend the same amount of time on exergames, they do not show any differences in acquisition of motor skills. Transfer of motor skills is similar in children with and without DCD regardless of differences in practice schedules.
2: Wang CH, Tseng YT, Liu D, Tsai CL. (2017) Neural Oscillation Reveals Deficits in Visuospatial Working Memory in Children With Developmental Coordination Disorder. Child Dev. 2017 Feb 14. [Epub ahead of print]
The electroencephalographic (EEG) oscillations associated with visuospatial working memory (VSWM) were examined in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD; 10-11 years; N = 29) and typically developing (TD) children (10-11 years; N = 29). Behaviorally, DCD showed poorer VSWM than TD, which coincided with the diminished ability of DCD in modulating neural oscillations. Furthermore, prestimulus oscillatory alpha activity was correlated with VSWM performance. The results suggest that children with DCD might have a reduced ability to encode and recognize new information, and in particular have difficulty in maintaining task-relevant information, resulting in poorer VSWM. This study thus concludes that changes in oscillatory EEG activity reflect some of the problems leading to cognitive deficits in DCD.
See also earlier article from Wang et al (2014): Tsai CL, Chang YK, Chen FC, Hung TM, Pan CY, Wang CH. Effects of cardiorespiratory fitness enhancement on deficits in visuospatial working memory in children with developmental coordination disorder: a cognitive electrophysiological study. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2014 Mar;29(2):173-85.
The present study aimed to explore the effectiveness of chronic aerobic exercise intervention on the behavioral and neuroelectric performances of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) when carrying out a visuospatial working memory (VSWM) task. Twenty typically developing children and 40 children with DCD, equally divided into DCD-training and DCD nontraining groups, performed the cognitive task with concomitant event-related potential recording before and after 16 weeks of endurance training. Results indicated that the children with DCD displayed VSWM deficits with regard to behavioral performance (i.e., slower reaction time and low accuracy rate) and the neuroelectric indices (i.e., smaller P3 and pSW amplitudes) during the retrieval-process phase as reported in previous studies. However, after the exercise intervention, DCD-training group showed significantly higher accuracy rates and enhanced P3 amplitudes during the encoding and retrieval-process phases, compared with their pre-training performances. These findings suggest that increased cardiorespiratory fitness could effectively improve the performance of the VSWM task in children with DCD, by enabling the allocation of greater working memory resources related to encoding and retrieval.
3: Wood G, Miles CA, Coyles G, Alizadehkhaiyat O, Vine SJ, Vickers JN, Wilson MR. A randomized controlled trial of a group-based gaze training intervention for children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. PLoS One. 2017 Feb 10;12(2):e0171782. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171782. PubMed PMID: 28187138. Full text
The aim of this study was to integrate a gaze training intervention (i.e., quiet eye training; QET) that has been shown to improve the throwing and catching skill of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), within an approach (i.e., group therapy) that might alleviate the negative psychosocial impact of these motor skill deficits. Twenty-one children with DCD were split into either QET (8 male 3 female, mean age of 8.6 years (SD = 1.04) or technical training (TT) groups (7 male 3 female, mean age of 8.6 years (SD = 1.84). The TT group were given movement-related instructions via video, relating to the throw and catch phases, while the QET group were also taught to fixate a target location on the wall prior to the throw (QE1) and to track the ball prior to the catch (QE2). Each group partook in a 4-week, group therapy intervention and measurements of QE duration and catching performance were taken before and after training, and at a 6-week delayed retention test. Parental feedback on psychosocial and motor skill outcomes was provided at delayed retention. Children improved their gaze control and catching coordination following QET, compared to TT. Mediation analysis showed that a longer QE aiming duration (QE1) predicted an earlier onset of tracking the ball prior to catching (QE2) which predicted catching success. Parents reported enhanced perceptions of their child's catching ability and general coordination in the QET group compared to the TT group. All parents reported improvements in their child's confidence, social skills and predilection for physical activity following the trial. The findings offer initial support for an intervention that practitioners could apply to address deficits in the motor and psychosocial skills of children with DCD.
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