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Rhythmic Auditory-Motor Skills in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Rhythmic Auditory-Motor Skills in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Presenter Name:Chantal Carrillo

School/Affiliation:McMaster University

Co-Authors:Andrew Chang, John Cairney, Devin McAuley, and Laurel J. Trainor


Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder involving deficits in motor coordination, affecting 5-15% of school-age children. Children show deficits in motor and visual-motor timing, but auditory and auditory-motor timing has not been well studied, despite its importance for speech and music perception and production. Given previous research showing motor areas are involved in auditory time perception, we hypothesized children with DCD would have impaired auditory time perception and auditory-motor synchronization. A previous study in our lab measured perceptual discrimination thresholds for duration timing, rhythm timing, and pitch (control). They found that children with DCD aged 6-7 have larger discrimination thresholds for duration and rhythm-based timing compared to typically developing (TD) children. Our current study investigates auditory-motor synchronization abilities in children with DCD and explores whether auditory rhythmic stimuli can help children with DCD (7-9 years) to execute rhythmic motor movements. Our experimental design aims to distinguish auditory timing perception, motor timing, and auditory-motor synchronization. We are testing tapping consistency when: tapping alone, with a metronome, continuation tapping (maintaining tapping after metronome stops), and tapping to the beat of musical excerpts. Current data from 7- to 9-year-old children in both DCD and TD groups (n = 13 in blinded group A, n = 9 in blinded group B) shows tapping consistency is significantly higher when an auditory cue is present. The results are important for informing whether auditory-motor training may confer additional benefit over motor training alone for children with DCD, compared to conventional interventions based on motor function.

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