A researcher at The University
of Texas at Arlington is looking for parents of children ages 7 to 13 who are concerned
about their child’s motor development.
a clinical assistant professor of kinesiology, is beginning a new research
study to examine the cognitive links to low motor skills in children and to
develop ways to address the problem. She heads the Developmental Motor
Cognition Lab in UT Arlington’s
College of Education and Health Professions.
Researchers estimate that about
6 percent of children suffer from coordination difficulties. While these difficulties
once might have been written off as clumsiness or awkwardness, Caçola
said studies have shown that these children may instead have deficiencies in
the way their brains process movement.
“Our studies look at how their
brains imagine action beforehand. These kids have issues not with the action
but with the involuntary planning of the action,” she said “These are the
children who are left aside during physical education classes. They have a hard
time and some are bullied just because they’re different.”
By administering a brief
intelligence test and a motor skills test to about 200 applicants, Caçola
hopes identify about 30 children with low motor ability for an intervention
program within UT Arlington’s Center for Healthy Living and Longevity.
“Dr. Caçola’s work is a example
of the Center for Healthy Living and Longevity at UT Arlington’s commitment to
involve the community in research that leads to healthier lives,” said Louise
Fincher, chairwoman of the kinesiology department. “Whether they qualify for
her intervention program, the testing done by Dr. Caçola’s lab will give parents a
valuable tool in evaluating their child’s progress toward developmental
To qualify for the study, children
should be 7 to 13 years old and have motor skills development difficulties (such
as difficulty with handwriting, tying shoes, catching a ball, buttoning
clothes, etc.) that are not due to a medical condition such as cerebral palsy,
hemiplegia, muscular dystrophy or pervasive developmental disorder. Interested
parents can contact the Developmental Motor Cognition Lab by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to
arrange a testing appointment.
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in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to
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