A Multimodal Approach to Understanding Motor Impairment in Developmental Coordination Disorder

dc.contributor.advisorDewey, Deborah, M.
dc.contributor.authorGrohs, Melody N.
dc.contributor.committeememberDukelow, Sean
dc.contributor.committeememberLebel, Catherine
dc.contributor.committeememberKirton, Adam
dc.contributor.committeememberGraham, Susan
dc.contributor.committeememberHands, Beth
dc.dateFall Convocation
dc.description.abstractAbstractThe ability to learn, execute and adapt motor skills is fundamental to childhood development and promotes independence in daily living. Yet children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), demonstrate difficulties acquiring and executing motor skills. DCD is a motor disorder that occurs in 5-6% of school-aged children. Motor impairment manifests as clumsy, slow and inaccurate motor performance adversely affecting the physical, academic and social outcomes of affected children. The pervasive negative impact of motor impairment on daily life in children with DCD, highlights the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. However, the motor deficits common among children with DCD remain unclear, making both screening and intervention difficult. There is a need for research with a priority focus on characterizing the motor deficits present in children with DCD. Evidence is growing, which suggests that poor motor performance in DCD is associated with motor control and motor learning deficits, however, findings are inconsistent across published studies. The current thesis used a three-pronged approach to investigate motor control and motor learning in children with diagnosed DCD, between the ages of 8 to 12 years: (1) two robotic behavioral tasks were employed to objectively quantify motor control abilities, (2) motor learning over five consecutive days of skill training and the potential of non-invasive brain stimulation to modulate rates of motor learning were explored, and (3) neuroimaging was used to investigate brain morphology of regions pertinent to motor control and motor learning. Spatial-temporal differences in reaching performance were observed in children with DCD, supporting the presence of motor control deficits. Preserved motor learning was also seen in the same sample of children. Non-invasive brain stimulation was unsuccessful in modulating the rate of motor learning. Finally, limited brain structural differences were observed in our DCD group compared to healthy controls. However, preliminary findings of reduced subcortical thalamic and pallidal volumes in our DCD group warrants further study, particularly given that these brain structures play critical roles in motor control and motor learning. Taken together, these findings suggest that the motor difficulties observed in children with DCD may be associated with compromised motor control systems.
dc.identifier.citationGrohs, M. N. (2020). A Multimodal Approach to Understanding Motor Impairment in Developmental Coordination Disorder (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.
dc.publisher.facultyGraduate Studiesen
dc.publisher.facultyCumming School of Medicine
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Calgaryen
dc.rightsUniversity of Calgary graduate students retain copyright ownership and moral rights for their thesis. You may use this material in any way that is permitted by the Copyright Act or through licensing that has been assigned to the document. For uses that are not allowable under copyright legislation or licensing, you are required to seek permission.en
dc.subjectDevelopmental Coordination Disorder
dc.subjectMotor Control
dc.subjectMotor Learning
dc.subjectTranscranial Direct Current Stimulation
dc.titleA Multimodal Approach to Understanding Motor Impairment in Developmental Coordination Disorder
dc.typedoctoral thesis
thesis.degree.disciplineMedicine – Neuroscience
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Calgaryen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Calgary
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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