The effects of a concurrent cognitive task on the postural control of young children with and without developmental coordination disorder.

Laufer Y, Ashkenazi T, Josman N

The purpose of this study was to examine how dual-task performance affects the center of pressure (COP) sway characteristics and cognitive performance of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Twenty-six children with DCD and 20 typically developing children stood quietly either on a firm or a compliant surface and named simple objects appearing consecutively on a computer screen. Five tests were presented in random order, with the cognitive and the postural tasks tested either separately or concurrently. Mistakes in naming the objects were recorded, as were COP sway characteristics measured with a force-plate. Children with DCD demonstrated higher COP path-length velocity (PLV), and COP amplitude variability, as well as more mistakes in naming the objects in all stance conditions. A concurrent cognitive task increased all sway measures in both groups, with the effect on PLV greater in children with DCD. Cognitive performance was affected by dual tasking only in the control group. Young children with DCD demonstrated greater postural control activity than did the children in the control group during quiet stance, whether performed as a single or a dual task. This difference is accentuated during dual tasking when the children with DCD seem to prioritize the cognitive task.

Gait and Posture, 2008, 27(2), 347-51

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