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Blanchard CCV, McGlashan HL, French B, Sperring RJ, Petrocochino B, Holmes NP (2017) Online control of prehension predicts performance on a standardised motor assessment test in 8-12 year old children. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:374    
Goal-directed hand movements are continuously guided by sensory information. If the target of a movement unexpectedly changes position, trajectory corrections can be initiated in as little as 100 ms in adults. This rapid online control is impaired in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), and potentially in other neurodevelopmental conditions. These disturbances in movement may implicate a cerebellar deficit. We investigated the visual control of hand movements in children in a novel 'centre-out' double-step reaching and grasping task, and examined how rapid visuo-motor control co-varies with performance on standardised motor tests often used with typically and atypically developing children. Three groups of children (aged 8-12 years, total n=171) were asked to reach and grasp an illuminated central ball on a vertically oriented board. On a proportion of trials at movement onset, the illumination switched unpredictably to one of four other balls in a centre-out configuration (left, right, up, or down). When the target moved, all children were able to correct their movements before reaching the initial target, at least on some trials, but the latencies to initiate these corrections were longer than those typically reported in the adult literature, ranging from 100 to over 700 ms. These later corrections may be due to less developed motor skills in children, or to the increased cognitive and biomechanical complexity of switching movements in four directions. In two independent groups, reaction times, the variability of peak grip aperture, and movement correction latency significantly predicted scores on the MABC-2. Later movement deceleration and later movement corrections also predicted lower scores on the aiming and catching tests. Our novel reaching and grasping task provides a sensitive and continuous measure of movement skill that predicts scores on standardized instruments used to screen for DCD
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