Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Exercise Science

First Advisor

Roger Newman-Norlund


completing fine motor skills involved in activities of daily living (ADLs). The primary purpose of this study was to establish neural markers of fine-motor skill impairment in children with DCD. Following a formal assessment of both fine and gross motor skills, we used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to measure brain activation patterns in a single child with DCD and a single age-matched control subject (both 7 years of age) while they performed a 2-D visuo-motor tracking task.

Relative to the control, the DCD child was clearly impaired on the behavioral metrics of fine motor control and showed significant activity (p < 0.001) in the occipital and frontal gyri, with less robust activations (p < 0.01) in the left motor cortex and left inferior parietal lobe while performing the tracking task. These results imply that the DCD subject relied heavily on visual (instead of tactile) feedback when performing the visuo-motor task as opposed to the control subject who exhibited significant actuvatuins in the left motor cortex, left inferior parietal lobe, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), right inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral orbiotfrontal gyrus, right movement sensory cortex, motor cortex, and pre-supplementary motor area which have been linked to visual-spatial processing, stimulus-response error monitoring, and motor learning. We conclude that our DCD child relied on different types of information than the control child when performing the visuo-motor tracking task, and that these differences in approach to the task manifested as differences in brain activation. These results further provide evidence for the impairment of specific neural networks in children with DCD and may serve as pilot data for the development and evaluation of future rehabilitative programs.