Date Presented 04/21/2023

This study evaluates the feasibility of a standardized force control and perception assessment. Outcomes of this study will be used to further development of proprioception testing in young children.

Primary Author and Speaker: Megan G. Pesci

Additional Authors and Speakers: Elsie Baker, Virginia W. Chu

Contributing Authors: Chloe Eilers

Each year over four million children are diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). 40-50% of the children born preterm develop motor delays that meet the diagnostic criteria for DCD. Children with DCD often have proprioception deficits, which are typically not identified until school age due to a lack of assessment tools. The objective of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of using our standardized force control and perception assessment to evaluate proprioception in children. This cross-sectional study recruited participants from the local health system, clinics, and community. We recruited 33 typical and 21 premature children between 6 and 60 months old. Children with severe movement or sensory impairments were excluded. Standardized crayons with various breaking strengths made in our lab will be used to evaluate a child’s ability to perceive and regulate force. Additionally, we assessed the changes in the child’s grip force during a coloring activity using an instrumented crayon holder. All participants were able to engage with the standardized crayons. A significant correlation was found between force threshold (lowest breaking strength of the crayons successfully use) and the max grip force measured by the instrumented crayon holder (p = 0.048), and between force threshold and the Touch domain T-score from Sensory Profile 2 (SP2) (p = 0.03) Results showed that our force assessment can be used with young children, and the force threshold is correlated with motor function (grip force) and sensory function (SP2). Outcomes of this study will be used to further development of proprioception testing for children, which will ideally lead to deficits being recognized and treated earlier in life.


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