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    Combined action observation and motor imagery improves learning of activities of daily living in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder

    Scott, Matthew W, Wood, Greg ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0851-7090, Holmes, Paul ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0821-3580, Marshall, Ben ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2557-5399, Williams, Jacqueline and Wright, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9568-0237 (2023) Combined action observation and motor imagery improves learning of activities of daily living in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. PLoS One, 18 (5). e0284086. ISSN 1932-6203

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    Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is characterised by poor motor coordination, which interferes with the ability to execute activities of daily living (ADLs). Combined action observation and motor imagery (AOMI) involves observing movement videos whilst imagining simultaneously the sensations of executing the same movement. Laboratory-based research indicates that AOMI can help improve movement coordination in children with DCD, but no previous research had investigated the efficacy of AOMI interventions for learning ADLs. This study investigated the efficacy of a home-based, parent-led, AOMI intervention for learning ADLs in children with DCD. Children with confirmed (n = 23) or suspected (n = 5) DCD (total sample n = 28), aged 7–12 years, were assigned to either an AOMI intervention or a control intervention (both n = 14). Participants attempted the following ADLs at pre-test (week 1), post-test (week 4), and retention test (week 6): shoelace tying, cutlery use, shirt buttoning, and cup stacking. Task completion times and movement techniques were recorded. The AOMI intervention produced significantly faster task completion times than the control intervention at post-test for shoelace tying, and significantly improved movement techniques for shoelace tying and cup stacking. Importantly, for children who could not tie shoelaces at pre-test (n = 9 per group), 89% of those following the AOMI intervention learnt the skill successfully by the end of the study, compared to only 44% of those following the control intervention. The findings indicate that home-based, parent-led, AOMI interventions can aid the learning of complex ADLs in children with DCD, and may be particularly effective for facilitating the learning of motor skills that do not currently exist within these children’s motor repertoire.

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