10:19pm Tuesday 12 December 2017

Clumsy Kids: Why? Asks new study

Lisa McLeod from the Department of Psychology at ANU is undertaking a study that, for the first time, will look at how certain senses develop in young children and whether this makes kids especially clumsy. This is an area that has been researched in adults but not in young children.

Ms McLeod is calling for around 50 young participants to take part in the study.

“In the first part of the study we will be looking at normally developing right-handed children aged from three to 12 years,” Ms McLeod said. “Children will be asked to play a computer game and take part in other motor activities that will test both fine and gross motor skills such as throwing a ball and threading a needle.”

The research will use the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, a program that is internationally recognised as the official test of a child’s motor ability.

Ms McLeod will look at how proprioception, or the sense of knowing where one’s limbs are in space, develops in children and whether this plays a role in being clumsy – a condition known as developmental coordination disorder.

“Proprioception means we don’t have to watch our feet when walking, watch our fingers on the keyboard when typing or to look at the foot pedals while driving.

“Without proprioception, football players wouldn’t be able to keep their eyes on the goal posts while kicking for goal, as they would need to pay attention to the position of their arms and legs while running and bouncing the ball.” Ms McLeod said.

The study hopes to determine whether problems with proprioception can result in children being unusually clumsy, beyond that which is typical for their age. Parents will be notified of their child’s results and whether their child’s movement ability is age appropriate. The research is conducted at ANU and takes about 40 minutes.

For more information on the study or for how children can participate, contact Lisa McLeod: lisa.mcleod@anu.edu.au

Filed under: Media Release, ANU College of Medicine Biology and Environment
Contacts: For interviews: Lisa McLeod; 02 6125 4582/ 0412 669 206. For media assistance: Penny Cox, ANU Media, 02 6125 3549 / 0424 016 979

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