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The Impact of Poor Motor Skills on Perceptual, Social and Cognitive Development: The Case of Developmental Coordination Disorder

Leonard, H (2016) The Impact of Poor Motor Skills on Perceptual, Social and Cognitive Development: The Case of Developmental Coordination Disorder Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 311.

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Throughout development, we gain increasing control over our bodies, allowing us to move around our environment and manipulate and use objects. This developing motor control is key to our understanding of the properties of our environment (Piaget, 1953). Being able to crawl or walk affects infants' understanding of the distance between objects, as well as the feel of different surfaces and slopes (Adolph and Joh, 2007). They will also be exposed to different risks in the environment, leading to a change in the relationships with their caregivers as they learn to use social information, such as facial expressions or tone of voice, to guide their exploration (Campos et al., 2000). The development of motor skills can therefore be viewed as part of an interactive developmental process with perceptual, social, and cognitive abilities (Thelen, 1992), which is subject to the constraints of the body and the environment. One theme of research which could help to provide more insight into these typical developmental processes is the study of neurodevelopmental disorders, in which expected interactions between different abilities may be disrupted. Motor difficulties have been highlighted in a number of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (Provost et al., 2007), specific language impairment (Hill, 2001) and dyslexia (Nicolson et al., 2001), all of which have core deficits in other domains, such as language or social communication. The current article will focus on developmental coordination disorder (DCD), in which motor impairments are central to the diagnosis (see Table 1). DCD is relatively understudied and under-recognized in comparison to many other neurodevelopmental disorders, despite its prevalence of around 5–6% in the population (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). However, given the close connections between motor development and the other skills outlined above, this article will argue that DCD provides a model case for investigating the impact of poor motor skills on perceptual, social and cognitive development. A review of pertinent research will demonstrate the impact that poor motor skills can have on functioning in a number of different domains. Finally, the article will suggest that raising awareness of the relationships between these skills is a vital next step to aid earlier intervention for a range of perceptual, social and cognitive difficulties in individuals with motor difficulties. This will not only benefit those with DCD, but could also improve outcomes in a range of other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Psychology
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Leonard, H
Date : 7 March 2016
DOI : 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00311
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2016 Leonard. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 24 Aug 2016 10:30
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 18:36

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