Assessment of motor skills and functional performance in pediatric population



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The early years (1-7 years) provide a window of opportunity to develop fundamental movement skills (FMS) and these are evident during sports and recreational activities. If children cannot build a diverse motor repertoire during the fundamental period they may face a 'proficiency barrier' to gain expertise in context specific movement skills. For typical 7 year olds we make the assumption that their cognitive-motor skills qualify them to perform complex movement activities, however children with neurodevelopmental delay (ND) have been shown to have deficits in cognitive as well as motor functions. A variety of assessment tools are focused on physical competence for activities of daily living in this subset of population. However they are limited in providing information about activities that require coordination of movement sequencing and executive functions. Hence the purpose of this study was to assess and establish developmental trajectories of cognitive and complex motor functions in children and adolescents with and without neurodevelopmental delay. The assessment included an iPad based program that measured executive functions through tests of executive function, trail making test(TMT), reaction times, processing speed test (PST) and static balance on 39 subjects between the age of 7-14 years. The results showed that the choice reaction times were significantly higher in the ND group than the control group. The balance, TMT-B, and the PST showed weak significance but moderate effect size. The hop tests did not show significant differences between the two groups. These results depict the challenges faced by the ND group when subject to complex tasks requiring advanced skills.