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Title: Children and developmental co-ordination : entropy, resistance training and athletic fitness
Author: Platt, Geoffrey K.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2010
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Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (D.C.D.) or Dyspraxia, is a condition in which children experience movement difficulties that vary from child-to-child and from day-to-day, according to health and level of exhaustion (Macintyre, 2001). Without a specific definition or essential symptom, identifying a satisfactory test for D.C.D. has proved difficult. Since 1992, the Movement A.B.C. Test (Henderson & Sugden, 1992) has been used in the U.K. and the Bruinink's-Oseretsky Test (Bruininks, 1978) in the U.S.A. A comparison of the results found significant differences and a correlation of only 0.80, that neither test was better, but that the best results were achieved by undertaking both tests. (Crawford et al., 2001). These differences affect all research into D.C.D and every diagnosis of the condition. Research has shown muscular weakness, particularly in the fingers, hands and wrists, to be a symptom of D.C.D. Raynor (1989; 2001) confirmed this with strength tests of the muscles on the upper leg, using a cybex machine. My second study employed two isokinetic and two isometric tests and used a grip dynamometer to evaluate the strength of the muscles of the fingers, hands and wrists. The most successful intervention involves physiotherapists assessing individual children's movement difficulties, identifying the causes and designing individual strength programmes to reduce the symptoms by 72%. (Lee and Smith, 1998) My third study attempted to replicate these results without the personal assessments or physiotherapists which made it financially unviable. Study 1: This research employed an approximate entropy device (Arehimedes, 2006; Christakis, 2006), attached to a belt secured with Velcro around the subject's waist, close to the centre of gravity. Following familiarisation, the participants [forty six children, 19 female; 27 male; (mean ± SD age = 9.5 ± 0.5 years]; walked forty metres along a straight, fiat, level path (school gymnasium, wooden floor) at a self-determined pace. Unfortunately, the results were inconsistent, although the system displayed an interesting level of sensitivity that indicated that further research is justified as the technology improves, with some evidence (ns) of the potential for research focusing on the vertical component of the entropy value. Study 2: A battery of four strength tests were selected that required no specialist equipment and which were suitable for supervision by P.E. teachers. These were the Sargent jump, the triple jump, the grip dynamometer and the leg and back dynamometer The participants [472 primary school children, 243 males and 229 females; mean ± SD age 9.2 ± 0.9 years] were assessed for strength. They were then assessed using the Movement A.B.C. Test and the results were compared in order to identify whether a lack of strength was a factor in the incidence of D.C.D. Results showed a significant correlation (p < 0.01) between the Movement A.B.C. Test scores and all of the strength tests. Study 3: This study employed the same participants as study two but divided them into intervention and control groups. Restrictions on space, staff and equipment required the use of the participants from one school, selected at random, as the control group and the participants from the other four schools as the intervention group. The intervention group [341 primary school children, 169 males and 172 females; mean ± SD age 9.32 ± 0.8 years] then undertook a six week strength programme (two 30 minute sessions per week) in their normal school environment, and in addition to their curricular P.E. lessons. This programme involved sprinting, hopping, and jumping based on the "Elevating Athletics" programme (see appendix 9) (U.K.A., 2006). The strength tests and Movement A.B.C. Test were administered pre and post the six week programme to assess whether a general strength programme is a positive intervention in D.C.D, and compared with the control group [131 primary school children, 74 males and 57 females; mean ± SD age 9.23 ± 0.9 years]. Post the six week strength programme the intervention group scores improved significantly in the Movement A.B.C. test and in each of its three component parts, dexterity, ball skills and balance, whilst the results of the control group showed no significant change. This research has highlighted the need for an improved assessment tool by which to identify children with D.C.D. Further, it has shown that improvement is possible for children within the age range 8 to 11 years following a six week strength intervention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available