Mild impairments of motor imagery skills in children with DCD Academic Article uri icon


  • It has been hypothesized that the underlying mechanism of clumsy motor behaviour in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is caused by a deficit in the internal modelling for motor control. An internal modelling deficit can be shown on a behavioural level by a task that requires motor imagery. Motor imagery skills are suggested to be related to anticipatory action planning, but motor imagery and action planning have not been tested within the same child. In the present study, action planning and motor imagery skills were assessed in 82 children between 7 and 12 years of age. Twenty-one of these children met the criteria for DCD, which was assessed by the McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development and 56 of these children were used in the control group. Motor imagery was tested by a mental rotation task of hands that were shown from a back and palm point of view. The results show that motor imagery is affected in children with DCD but only in conditions with complex task constraints (i.e., rotation of hand stimuli presented in palm view). These results provide partial support for the internal modelling deficit hypothesis. We were not able to elicit motor planning deficits in this group, however, and argue that more complex planning tasks may be needed to identify such deficits.

publication date

  • 2014