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Winona Snapp-Childs, Ian Flatters, Aaron Fath, Mark Mon-Williams, Geoffrey Bingham; Training of compliance control in children yields improvements in handwriting. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):489. doi: 10.1167/13.9.489.
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Introduction: Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) must overcome a ‘catch-22’ to achieve sensori-motor learning. They cannot produce movements well enough to improve. Snapp-Childs, Mon-Williams and Bingham (2012) developed a method that supports active movement generation to allow practice with improvement of good compliance control. They showed that the method allowed children with DCD to improve at a 3D tracing task to become as proficient as typically developing children who had also trained. In the present study, we examined the effect of this training on handwriting, specifically figure copying, in 7-8 year olds. Methods: Twenty-three children were tested with the Beery VMI (including tests of Visual Perception (VP) and Motor Coordination (MC)), the 3D tracing task, and a 2D letter-like figure copying task. The children then trained on the 3D tracing task until they all reached comparably good proficiency. The 3D tracing and copying tasks were tested again following training. Results: Performance on the Beery varied widely. Age referenced percentile scores ranged from 4-92 for VMI, 2-96 for VP, 0.7-73 for MC. Performance on the 3D tracing task at baseline varied as a function of the level of difficulty. After training, these differences were dramatically reduced. Baseline performance in both the 3D tracing and 2D copying tasks co-varied with VP scores (not VMI or MC scores) indicating that the ability to visually discriminate pattern detail predicts complex 3D path tracing and 2D line form copying. Again, following training, these relationships disappeared. For figure copying, the extent to which copied forms were larger than the target related inversely to error scores. Conclusions: Figure copying improved as a result of training on the 3D tracing task, reducing differences in size and error that co-varied with VP scores. In conclusion, the training method improved handwriting and reduced differences indicated by Beery scores
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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