4th Assembly of the International Motor Development Research Consortium (I-MDRC) which took place in Verona, Italy on September 11- 13, 2019

Scientific Conference

4th Assembly of the International Motor Development Research Consortium (I-MDRC) which took place in Verona, Italy on September 11- 13, 2019. The conference was a joint program organized by I-MDRC and the Congrès International sur I'Activité Physique et le Sport chez l’Enfant (CIAPSE). 

1. Short Oral Presentation #4: Cognition and PE 


Koutsouki Dimitra |Asonitou Katerina |Charitou, Sophia

Introduction: Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a serious impairment in acquiring and executing age-appropriate motor skills that interferes significantly and inevitably with academic achievement and activities of daily living (APA, 2013); its prevalence rates range between 6% and 10% worldwide for ages 5 -11 years old (APA, 1994).This disorder in childhood is characterized by a reduced ability to learn or automate motor skills, marked delays in achieving motor milestones, movement clumsiness, poor performance in sports or poor handwriting. Previous studies have revealed a cognitive dysfunction profile of children with DCD, attributing the disorder to an impaired information processing system (visual perceptual disorders, planning, organization, working memory, time management, memory, decision making and learning deficits, which continue into adulthood (Ricon, 2010; Tal-Saban, Ornoy & Parush, 2014). 

Objective: This study aimed to compare motor performance and planning levels between children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and children with typical development, determining the contribution of cognitive planning to the motor performance in children with and without DCD (relationship). Method: Thirty children with DCD (DCD: n=30) and thirty children with typical development (nonDCD: n=30), 5-6-years old, were tested. Their gross and fine motor coordination performance was assessed using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2) and planning abilities were evaluated using the Cognitive Assessment System (D-N CAS: Naglieri 1997), which implements the PASS theory (Das, Kirby, & Jarman, 1979). This theory of information processing is a neuropsychological perspective of mental functions in which planning is the main component. Independent samples t-tests, correlation, univariate and regression analyses were applied to examine associations between cognitive and motor variables. Results: The DCD group scored significantly lower on gross and fine motor coordination and cognitive planning in comparison with the control group (P<0.05). After accounting for age, sex and cognitive-motor performance level, the strongest effect sizes were related to total impairment score (TIS) and total planning scale score explaining a robust rate of variance in children with DCD across all age groups (all p<.01). Regression analyses showed that planned codes was the main significant predictor for quality of fine motor coordination in both groups (DCD and control).

Conclusions: Results suggest that poor planning performance seems particularly related to a deficiency in visual-motor integration, whereas planning level seems to be significantly associated with motor performance in children with DCD. A significant, positive correlation was found for both the DCD and control groups, suggesting that these two domains are interrelated. We propose that future developmental research should incorporate cognitive strategy tools in order to analyze specific profiles of heterogeneous populations, such as DCD. So, cognitive intervention approaches in which the development of planning, problem 138 solving and evaluation is emphasized could be more effective to improve movement learning difficulties.

Affiliation: Laboratory of Adapted Physical Activity/ Developmental & Physical Disabilities, School of Physical Education & Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece 

Keywords: Cognitive planning, motor performance, developmental coordination disorder

2. POSTER #24 


Asonitou Katerina | Koula Miranda | Rammou Alkistis | Charitou Sophia | Koutsouki Dimitra

Introduction: Throughout development children gain increasing control over their bodies, allowing them to move around, manipulate and use objects. The development of motor skills can be viewed as part of an interactive developmental process with perceptual, social, and cognitive abilities, which is subject to the constraints of the body and the environment conditions (Leonard, 2016). Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify the differences in motor skill performance between children with and without developmental coordination disorder (DCD) using two different assessment instruments (MABC and TMC). Method: Sample included forty two (42) students, 8-10 years old (Μ = 9.00, SD = 0.90), 21 diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder (DCD: n=21) by the DSM–IV criteria and 21 age and sex-matched typically developing students (non DCD: n=21). DCD children were diagnosed with coordination problems and performance assessed as being below the fifth percentile on the Movement ABC-2 (MABC-2: Henderson, Sugden & Barnett, 2007). Additionally, the gross and fine motor skill performance was evaluated with the Test of Motor Competence (TMC: Sigmundsson et al., 2016). Results: One-way Anova and Multiple analyses of variance (MANOVA) indicated that the DCD group performed significantly lower than the control group on all motor skills: 1) for ages 8-9, four dependent variables of the MABC-2 and the three dependent variables of the TMC [Wilks' L = .042, F (7,20) = 68.34, p = .008, F(0,21)=426.879, p<.000); discriminant function analysis showed that manual dexterity of MABC [F(1,20)=37.587, p=.000], balance of MABC [F(1,20)=25.480, p=.000] and total score of TMC [F(1,20)=15.655, p=.000] could separate significantly the two groups. Correlation analysis (Spearman's rho) showed that both tests (MABC and TMC) were correlated significantly in three domains: total manual dexterity score, b) total balance score, and c) three visual-motor coordination items of MABC-2 with total TMC score; MABC-2 total balance score. The total score of MABC-2 did not correlate significantly with TMC total score.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the performance of students with DCD was inferior to the control group in both movement tests. Although these two tests are often used we found significant correlations and agreement between the tests in identifying children with and without developmental coordination disorder. It is suggested: a) the importance of a common motor competency screening tool for elementary school environment, b) further data collection from larger data samples of elementary school children, and c) further investigation of the relationship between the two tests in different ages and cultures. Affiliation: Laboratory of Adapted Physical Activity/ Developmental & Physical Disabilities, School of Physical Education & Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece 

Keywords: developmental coordination disorder, elementary, MABC-2, TMC

3. POSTER #44 


Sophia Charitou | Dimitra Koutsouki | Katerina Asonitou 

Children constantly interact with their environment in many playful, imaginative and creative ways. Movement is an excellent way to introduce concepts, to build a broad knowledge base and develop cognitive skills. Educational interventions in motor development are seeking the nature of these interactions between children and their environments in order to design programs in the same holistic way that human brain functions. The intervention model we are proposing consists by three interconnected domains. The first domain refers to the knowledge base and is represented by the words «I KNOW». Within this domain cognitive and movement schemata are accommodated and constantly change the actual competence of each individual. The second domain refers to the content of «who am I» and is called «I AM». Within the «I AM» domain we seek beliefs, preferences, inclinations and the feelings experienced when involving in previous motor experiences, which guide each step of the intervention programs. The third domain is the «I DO» domain which refers to motor schemata and motor actions and comprises the convergence point between the actual and perceived motor competence. The epicentre of the areas where the three domains overlap with each other consists of all motor schemata and mental representations at each stage of development. It is the epicentre that intervention aims at and this area is developing in a spiral way to mature cognitive and motor development. This intervention model depends on factors like age, experience, social and cultural conditions, family functions and expectations etc. It is the quantity and quality of the cognitive- motor schemata comprising early motor development that this intervention model aims at. It is the plethora of variable learning experiences that built cognitive- motor schemata which enriches children’s motor behaviour. It is to learn more than one movement problem solving skills. Teaching and instruction of motor behaviours in pre-schoolers need to aim beyond the acquisition of motor patterns. Children need to acquire selfconfidence, creativity and independence through movement. 

Affiliation: Laboratory of Physical Activity/ Developmental and Physical Disabilities, School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece 

Keywords: motor development, dynamic intervention, «I KNOW», «I AM», «I DO», cognitive- motor schemata

4. POSTER #21 


Melina Kottara (1) | Sophia Charitou (2) | Eleni Daskalopoulou (3) | Katerina Asonitou (2) | Dimitra Koutsouki (2) 

Motor skills, just like the features that comprise it, play a defining role in an individual’s development during childhood and the life stages that follow. Thus, the observation of motor development process is essential for timely interventions to take place in view of possible deficits, through the design of personalized programs, which aim not only to eliminate or reduce the motor deficits but also to achieve the appropriate pattern of movement in motor skills in relation to their age. The objective of this research is to define the motor and cognitive deficits in children with dyslexia ages 8 to 10 years old. The research sample included 47 non-dyslexic children attending the 9th Primary School of Dafne and 25 dyslexic children from KEDDY Β’ of Athens. Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC-2) was used for both the evaluation of the fine motor skill as well as the identification of movement disorders. The test consisted of three units and eight trials; however, the following were used for the specific evaluation of the fine motor skill abilities: a) Placing pegs with both the dominant and non-dominant hand, b) Threading Lace and c) Drawing Trial. The following subtests of the Cognitive Assessment System (CAS) were used to evaluate the cognitive skill of the subjects: a) Planning Connections, b) Receptive Attention and c) Selective Attention. Furthermore, there was an overview of literature found in the databases of Google Scholar, Scopus and Pubmed with the purpose to investigate previous research and compare results. The research concluded that motor and cognitive deficits in dyslexic children do exist when compared to the typically developed children who were tested in both age groups. In addition, significant correlations between the fine motor skills and the cognitive skills were observed in a general reflection on the results. It is important to report that based on 200 the correlations, the same relation variables were found in all the age spectrum, suggesting that the specific tests of the MABC and the CAS can be data that trace the possibility of dyslexia on their own. 

Affiliation: (1) KU Leuven University | (2) Laboratory of Physical Activity/ Developmental and Physical Disabilities, School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece | (3) School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece 

Keywords: Dyslexia, motor development, cognitive development, motor deficits in dyslexia, cognitive deficits, fine motor skill development