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Gaze training supports self-organization of movement coordination in children with developmental coordination disorder

Słowiński, Piotr and Baldemir, Harun and Wood, Greg and Alizadehkhaiyat, Omid and Coyles, Ginny and Vine, Samuel and Williams, Genevieve and Tsaneva-Atanasova, Krasimira and Wilson, Mark (2019) Gaze training supports self-organization of movement coordination in children with developmental coordination disorder. Scientific Reports, 9 (1). ISSN 2045-2322


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Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) struggle with the acquisition of coordinated motor skills. This paper adopts a dynamical systems perspective to assess how individual coordination solutions might emerge following an intervention that trained accurate gaze control in a throw and catch task. Kinematic data were collected from six upper body sensors from twenty-one children with DCD, using a 3D motion analysis system, before and after a 4-week training intervention. Covariance matrices between kinematic measures were computed and distances between pairs of covariance matrices calculated using Riemannian geometry. Multidimensional scaling was then used to analyse differences between coordination patterns. The gaze trained group revealed significantly higher total coordination (sum of all the pairwise covariances) following training than a technique-trained control group. While the increase in total coordination also significantly predicted improvement in task performance, the distinct post-intervention coordination patterns for the gaze trained group were not consistent. Additionally, the gaze trained group revealed individual coordination patterns for successful catch attempts that were different from all the coordination patterns before training, whereas the control group did not. Taken together, the results of this interdisciplinary study illustrate how gaze training may encourage the emergence of coordination via self-organization in children with DCD.

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