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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2010 Sep;52(9):850-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03611.x. Epub 2010 Jan 28.

Anticipatory postural adjustments in a bimanual load-lifting task in children with developmental coordination disorder.

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Centre for Research in the Psychology of Cognition, Language and Emotion, Aix-Marseille University, France.



Postural control is a fundamental component of action in which deficits have been shown to contribute to motor difficulties in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). The purpose of this study was to examine anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) in children with DCD in a bimanual load-lifting task.


Sixteen children with reported motor problems (two females, 14 males; mean age 9 y; SD 2 y) and 16 typically developing, age-matched children (six females, 10 males; mean age 9 y; SD 2 y) took part in the study. The task required the children to maintain a stable elbow angle, despite imposed or voluntary unloading of the forearm. APAs were assessed using electromyography and kinematics analysis.


Although children with DCD could compensate for the consequences of unloading, the results demonstrated that APAs were less efficient in children with DCD than in typically developing children. A positive and significant coefficient of regression between the flexor inhibition latency and the postural stabilization was only found in typically developing children.


The impaired fine-tuning of the muscle contribution and the poor stabilization performances demonstrate poor predictive modelling in DCD.

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