Predictability of Visual Motor Task

Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology published research on visual motor deficits in very preterm children.  There were 58 very preterm children (average age 7 yr 6 months and average gestational age 29.2 weeks) and 64 age matched full term children in the study.  The participants IQ was measured and a diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) was given if the child scored below the 15th percentile on the Movement Assessment Battery for Children.  The children traced a trail on a touch screen using their index finger to evaluation visual motor performance.  In one condition the children traced a predictable path and in the other condition it was an unpredictable or unstructured path.

The results indicated the following:

  • 46% of the very preterm children received a diagnosis of DCD compared to 16% of the full term children
  • in the predictable path condition there was no difference in visual motor performance between the very preterm and full term children
  • in the non structured path condition the very preterm children had poorer visual motor performance whether DCD was present or not

The researchers concluded that the predictability of a visual motor task plays a crucial role in very preterm children with DCD and without DCD.

Reference: Jorrit F De Kievie et al. The crucial role of the predictability of motor response in visuomotor deficits in very preterm children at school age. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Article first published online: 17 MAR 2013 DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.12125