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Motor ability and weight status are determinants of out-of-school activity participation for children with developmental coordination disorder

Research in Developmental Disabilities
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.06.013
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Participation
  • Motor Ability
  • Overweight
  • Rehabilitation


Abstract According to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health model endorsed by the World Health Organization, participation in everyday activities is integral to normal child development. However, little is known about the influence of motor ability and weight status on physical activity participation in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). This study aimed to (1) compare motor performance, weight status and pattern of out-of-school activity participation between children with DCD and those without; and (2) identify whether motor ability and weight status were determinants of participation patterns among children with DCD. We enrolled 81 children with DCD (boys, n = 63; girls, n = 18; mean age, 8.07 ± 1.5 years) and 67 typically developing children (boys, n = 48; girls, n = 19; mean age, 8.25 ± 1.6 years). Participation patterns (diversity, intensity, companionship, location, and enjoyment) were evaluated with the Children Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment. Motor ability was evaluated with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, second edition (MABC-2). Other factors that may influence participation such as age, gender, and body weight were also recorded. Analysis of variance was used to compare outcome variables of the two groups, and significant determinants of activity participation were identified by multiple regression analysis. Children with DCD participated in fewer activities (i.e., limited participation diversity) and participated less frequently (i.e., limited participation intensity) than their typically developing peers; however, companionship, location of participation, and enjoyment level did not differ between the two groups. Children in the DCD group demonstrated significantly worse motor ability as assessed by the MABC-2. Further, a greater proportion of children in the DCD group were in the overweight/obese category compared with their typically developing peers. After accounting for the effects of age and gender, motor ability and weight category explained 7.6% and 5.0% of the variance in participation diversity, respectively, for children with DCD. Children with DCD showed less diverse and less intense out-of-school activity participation than typically developing children. Motor impairment and weight status were independently associated with the lower participation diversity. Interventions aiming at improving participation for children with DCD should target weight control and training in motor proficiency. Further study is needed to identify other factors that may hinder participation in this group of children.

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