Training compliance control yields improved drawing in 5–11year old children with motor difficulties

Publication authors

Snapp-Childs W, Shire KA, Hill LJB, Mon-Williams M, Bingham GP


There are a large number of children with motor difficulties including those that have difficulty producing movements qualitatively well enough to improve in perceptuo-motor learning without intervention. We have developed a training method that supports active movement generation to allow improvement in a 3D tracing task requiring good compliance control. Previously, we tested a limited age range of children and found that training improved performance on the 3D tracing task and that the training transferred to a 2D drawing test. In the present study, school children (5–11 years old) with motor difficulties were trained in the 3D tracing task and transfer to a 2D drawing task was tested. We used a cross-over design where half of the children received training on the 3D tracing task during the first training period and the other half of the children received training during the second training period. Given previous results, we predicted that younger children would initially show reduced performance relative to the older children, and that performance at all ages would improve with training. We also predicted that training would transfer to the 2D drawing task. However, the pre-training performance of both younger and older children was equally poor. Nevertheless, post-training performance on the 3D task was dramatically improved for both age groups and the training transferred to the 2D drawing task. Overall, this work contributes to a growing body of literature that demonstrates relatively preserved motor learning in children with motor difficulties and further demonstrates the importance of games in therapeutic interventions.