Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The hidden disorder: Unique treatment proposed for children's neurological disorder

26.11.2012
An Indiana University study in the Journal of Child Neurology proposes an innovative treatment for developmental coordination disorder, a potentially debilitating neurological disorder in which the development of a child's fine or gross motor skills, or both, is impaired.

DCD strikes about one in 20 children, predominantly boys, and frequently occurs alongside ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and other better known conditions. Like ADHD, DCD has broad academic, social and emotional impact. It can severely affect reading, spelling and handwriting abilities; and insofar as children with DCD both struggle with and avoid physical activity, it can also lead to problems with self-esteem, obesity and injury.

Severity of the disorder varies, and as the researchers explain, it is sometimes called the "hidden disorder" because of the way those with milder cases develop coping strategies that conceal the disorder, such as using computers to avoid handwriting tasks, and wearing shirts without buttons, or shoes without laces. But children with DCD have been generally thought unable to learn or improve their motor skills.

"The results of this study were remarkable," said lead author Geoffrey Bingham, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. "After training the children over a five- to six-week period, one day a week for 20 minutes at a time, the differences between children with DCD and typically developing children were all but obliterated."

Key to the training was a unique technology: a three-dimensional virtual reality device, the PHANTOM Omni from Sensable Technologies, developed for the visualization of knots by topologists, who study geometric forms in space. Holding a stylus attached to a robot, participants in the study developed their fine motor skills by playing a game in which they traced a three-dimensional virtual path in the air, visually represented on a computer screen. Forces such as magnetic attraction and friction can be applied to the path and adjusted so participants could actually feel a surface that changed as the parameters were altered.

The study compared the progress of a group of eight 7- to 8-year-olds with DCD to a group of eight 7- to 8-year-old typically developing children in a three-dimensional tracing game. The task was to push a brightly colored fish along a visible path on a computer screen from the starting location to the finish point while racing a competitor fish.

The training started with the highest level of magnetic attraction, slowest competitor and shortest path. The goal of the training was to allow the children to progress at their own pace through the different combinations and levels of attraction, paths and competitors.

THE CHILDREN'S 'CATCH-22'

As Bingham's collaborator Winona Snapp-Childs, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, explains, the particular challenge facing children with DCD is a "Catch-22" situation. Children must first be able to approximate a movement by actively generating it themselves before they can improve it through practice and repetition. But because children with DCD have been unable to produce this initial movement, they have been unable to improve their skills.

The technology provided the tool needed to overcome this impasse. It gave both the support needed to produce the movement, as well as the flexibility to let children actively generate the movement themselves. It allowed the children to do what they otherwise could not do: produce the requisite initial movements that could then be practiced to yield quantitative improvements.

The researchers say the technology could potentially be widely accessible: It can be used without a therapist and is portable enough to be put in clinics, classrooms or the home. It can also be adjusted to suit the needs of children across the spectrum of DCD severity.

The study, "A Sensorimotor Approach to the Training of Manual Actions in Children With Developmental Coordination Disorder," is appearing on the Journal of Child Neurology Online First. Co-authors are Snapp-Child; and Mark Mon-Williams, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, U.K. Bingham directs the Perception/Action Lab at IU Bloomington.

This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

For a copy of the study, or to speak with Bingham, contact Liz Rosdeitcher at 812-855-4507 or rosdeitc@indiana.edu. For additional assistance, contact Tracy James at 812-855-0084 or traljame@iu.edu. Tweeting @Vitality_IU, with more news from IU at #IUNews.

Liz Rosdeitcher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.indiana.edu

Further reports about: ADHD Brain Brain Sciences Children DCD Neurology Psychological Science Snapp-Child computer screen

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>