Training compliance control yields improved drawing in 5–11 year old children with motor difficulties

Yorkshire & HumberMusculoskeletal, Neurological
Start Date: 1 Sep 2013

"Survellance of motor skills and co-ordination disorders in primary school children"


There are a large number of children with motor difficulties including those that have difficulty producing movements qualitatively well enough to improve in perceptuo-motor learning without intervention. The researchers in NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber have developed a training method that supports active movement generation to allow improvement in a 3D tracing task requiring good compliance control. Previously, a limited age range of children were tested and found that training improved performance on the 3D tracing task and that the training transferred to a 2D drawing test. In the present study, school children (5–11 years old) with motor difficulties were trained in the 3D tracing task and transfer to a 2D drawing task was tested. A cross-over design was implemented where half of the children received training on the 3D tracing task during the first training period and the other half of the children received training during the second training period. Given previous results, the researchers predicted that younger children would initially show reduced performance relative to the older children, and that performance at all ages would improve with training. It was also predicted that training would transfer to the 2D drawing task. However, the pre-training performance of both younger and older children was equally poor. Nevertheless, post-training performance on the 3D task was dramatically improved for both age groups and the training transferred to the 2D drawing task. Overall, this work contributes to a growing body of literature that demonstrates relatively preserved motor learning in children with motor difficulties and further demonstrates the importance of games in therapeutic interventions.

Professor Mark Mon-Williams