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Motor skills study seeking volunteers

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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Media Contact: Traci Peterson

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.

Priscila Caçola, 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 benchmarks.”

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 to arrange a testing appointment.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of 33,439 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit to learn more.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.