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Tactile localization performance in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) corresponds to their motor skill and not their cognitive ability

Johnston, J. S., Ali, J. B., Hill, E. L. ORCID: 0000-0003-3130-1271 & Bremner, A. J. (2017). Tactile localization performance in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) corresponds to their motor skill and not their cognitive ability. Human Movement Science, 53, pp. 72-83. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2016.12.008

Abstract

When localizing touches to the hands, typically developing children and adults show a “crossed hands effect” whereby identifying which hand received a tactile stimulus is less accurate when the hands are crossed than uncrossed. This demonstrates the use of an external frame of reference for locating touches to one’s own body. Given that studies indicate that developmental vision plays a role in the emergence of external representations of touch, and reliance on vision for representing the body during action is atypical in developmental coordination disorder (DCD), we investigated external spatial representations of touch in children with DCD using the “crossed hands effect”. Nineteen children with DCD aged 7–11 years completed a tactile localization task in which posture (uncrossed, crossed) and view (hands seen, unseen) were varied systematically. Their performance was compared to that of 35 typically developing controls (19 of a similar age and cognitive ability, and 16 of a younger age but similar fine motor ability). Like controls, the DCD group exhibited a crossed hands effect, whilst their overall tactile localization performance was weaker than their peers of similar age and cognitive ability, but in line with younger controls of similar motor ability. For children with movement difficulties, these findings indicate tactile localization impairments in relation to age expectations, but apparently typical use of an external reference frame for localizing touch.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Publisher Keywords: Developmental coordination disorder, Touch, Tactile localization, Body representations, Multisensory development, Sensorimotor development
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
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