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

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

Session 2

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. 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-motor synchronization. Our first study investigated simple auditory-motor synchronization abilities in children with DCD (n=21) compared to typically developing (TD) children (n=22) aged 7-10 and explored whether auditory rhythmic stimuli could help children with DCD execute rhythmic motor movements. We tested tapping consistency when: tapping alone, with a metronome, continuation tapping (maintaining tapping after metronome stops), and tapping to the beat of musical excerpts. Data showed a significant group effect in which the DCD group had lower tapping consistency scores than the TD group across all three conditions. Both groups also showed higher consistency scores when an auditory cue was present. In our second study, we are aiming to measure more complex auditory-motor synchronization skills in children with DCD. We propose an experimental design similar to the first tapping study, with children performing a full body “step-clap” movement along to auditory stimuli. We will measure synchronization of the hands and feet to the stimuli, as well as inter-limb coordination. 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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