Podcast: Task-oriented intervention for children with developmental co-ordination disorder

Developmental co-ordination disorder is a common childhood disorder, which makes it difficult for the child to perform essential movement-based activities. One of the possible treatments is called task-oriented intervention, and a new Cochrane Review from July 2017 looks at the evidence for this. Lead author, Motohide Miyahara, from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand tells us what they found in this podcast.

The co-authors of this review were Susan Hillier, Liz Pridham, and Shinichi Nakagawa.

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John: Hello, I'm John Hilton, editor of the Cochrane Editorial unit. Developmental co-ordination disorder is a common childhood disorder, which makes it difficult for the child to perform essential movement-based activities. One of the possible treatments is called task-oriented intervention, and a new Cochrane Review from July 2017 looks at the evidence for this. Lead author, Motohide Miyahara, from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand tells us what they found in this podcast.

Motohide: Developmental co-ordination disorder, DCD in short, can make it difficult for children to take care of themselves at home, do well at school, or participate in sport and leisure activities because they find it difficult to move their hands and body efficiently. Their movement problems can affect their confidence and social life.
Task-oriented interventions use specific activities that are meaningful to the children and provide them with an opportunity to practise these activities to improve corresponding motor skills. It’s important to know how effective these interventions are and we did our review to look at their effects on movement performance, psychosocial functions, activity, and participation for children with DCD.
We systematically searched 16 literature databases and 5 trial registries up to March 2017, and found 15 studies involving 649 children aged from five to 12 years, who were from Australia, Canada, China, Sweden, Taiwan, and the UK. The trials had been done in hospital settings, as well as at universities, community centres, home and school.
We were able to combine the results from six studies in a meta-analysis to boost the strength of the results and this suggests that task-oriented interventions have a moderately positive effect on movement problems. However, if we just take the finding from the two strongest studies alone, this indicates that task-oriented interventions do not improve the movement problems of children with DCD significantly more than children with DCD who were put on a waiting list for the interventions.
In summary, we concluded that task-oriented interventions may be useful for children with DCD in improving their skills, such as manual dexterity, balance, and ball skills when assessed in a movement test within several weeks. Children, their parents, clinicians and teachers can be confident that task specific training is safe and that the children in the studies were able to continue with the programs for the full period. However, we cannot be sure about benefits in the areas outside the movement tests, without further carefully designed and conducted research, within a randomised and controlled framework and with meaningful outcomes that will allow fuller investigation of the effects of these interventions for children with DCD.

John: If you would like to read the complete version of this review, and watch for updates should that further research be done, you can find it easily at Cochrane Library dot com, with a very simple search for 'DCD'.

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