Rhythmic coordination of hand and foot in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder.Child Care Health Dev. 2006 Nov; 32(6):693-702.CC
Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) have difficulties producing stable rhythmic bimanual coordination patterns in comparison with age-related peers. Rhythmic coordination of non-homologous limbs (e.g. hand and foot) is even more difficult to perform because of mechanical differences between the limbs. The aim of the present study is to investigate the stability of hand-foot coordination patterns of children with DCD.
Ten children with DCD (mean age 7.0 years, SD 1.1 years) and 16 control children (mean age 7.4 years, SD 1.3 years) participated in the study. They were asked to perform in-phase or anti-phase tapping movements in three different interlimb coordination combinations: (1) hand-hand (homologous), (2) hand-foot same body side (ipsilateral), and (3) hand-foot different body side (contralateral). Coordination stability was measured by the variability of the relative phase between the limbs under a 'steady state' (preferred) frequency condition, and by the critical frequency (i.e. the point at which loss of pattern stability was observed) in a condition in which the movement frequency was 'scaled' up (only anti-phase tapping).
Coordination patterns of children in the DCD group were less stable in all three limb combinations compared with controls. Further, hand-foot coordination patterns were less stable than hand-hand coordination patterns. With regard to hand-foot coordination, ipsilateral patterns were equally stable compared with contralateral patterns in the in-phase task, but less stable in the anti-phase task. No differential effects were found between the DCD and control groups across the different limb combinations, except for steady-state anti-phase coordination in the ipsilateral limb condition. This effect was due to a relatively good performance of the control children in this condition in comparison with the other limb combination conditions.
Children with DCD have difficulties producing stable rhythmic hand-foot coordination patterns compared with control children.