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Priscila Cacola, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology

UT Arlington Faculty

Dr. Priscila Caçola is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and the Director of the Developmental Motor Cognition Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Kinesiology from the Federal University of Parana and a Ph.D. in Motor Neuroscience from Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on the links between cognitive and motor behavior across the lifespan, with particular emphasis on how motor and space representations develop and how problems associated with those representations cause motor skill difficulties in vulnerable populations (e.g., children with low motor ability and the elderly). She is also particularly interested in how the environment contributes to motor skill development in infants. Her work has significant practical implications for the development of screening, diagnostic, and intervention protocols associated with motor skills and vulnerable populations.In 2013, she was honored with the Lolas E. Halverson Motor Development Young Investigator Award, a distinction given in recognition of outstanding contributions to her research in motor development and learning.

Service Learning Class

KINE 3388: Theory and Application of Motor Development

The course focuses on the study of motor skill development in childhood and adolescence. More specifically, the class concentrates on the basis of motor development theory and aspects that affect motor competence, underlie control of movement, and influence change in the acquisition of motor skills in childhood and adolescence. In addition, a practical application of the theoretical framework for MD is explored with fieldwork in a local school.

Academic Outcomes

  • The student will develop an understanding of the theoretical basis of motor development.
  • The student will develop an understanding of the mechanisms affecting change.
  • The student will develop an understanding of principles of motor behavior (development, learning, control) from a developmental perspective.
  • The student will be able to discuss the major factors, characteristics, and changes associated with body growth from a developmental perspective.
  • The student will able to identify and explain developmental characteristics of perception and information processing.
  • The student will be able to explain the main characteristics of each stage and phase of the developmental continuum.
  • The student will be able to discuss measurement and evaluation in motor development and the major assessments associated to it.
  • The student will develop an understanding of the process of problem solving as it is applied to motor development.

Service Learning Project

Students work in pairs to administer assessments of motor skills and work in larger groups (5-8) to create interventional plans that address the weaknesses the children show based on assessment results. The result is that UTA students really learn about motor assessment and intervention, and the children at school get a lot of specialized treatment for their motor skills. They also love when they are “visited” by their UTA buddies, and every student at Webb knows that second grade is the grade they will work with UTA students. The kids keep a report card with the progression of what they learn in the classes ministered by students. We share the data and help the PE teacher continue with a plan to address motor skill weaknesses in children after the project is over.


Community Agency

Webb Elementary (AISD)