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Strength Training for a Child With Suspected Developmental Coordination Disorder

Menz, Stacy M. PT, DPT, PCS; Hatten, Kristin PT, DPT; Grant-Beuttler, Marybeth PT, PhD, PCS

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31828a2042
Case Report

Background: Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) demonstrate difficulty with feedforward motor control and use varied compensatory strategies.

Purpose: To examine gross motor function changes following strength training in a child with motor control difficulties.

Case Description: A girl aged 6 years 11 months, with apraxia and hypotonia, and demonstrating motor delays consistent with DCD.

Intervention: Twenty-four strength training sessions were completed using a Universal Exercise Unit.

Outcomes: Postintervention scores significantly improved on the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition, and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure scores and raised the Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire, Revised 2007, scores above the range where DCD is suspected. Nonsignificant changes in strength were observed.

Discussion: Improved function and significant gains in manual coordination were observed following blocked practice of isolated, simple joint movements during strength training. Improved motor skills may be because of effective use of feedforward control and improved stabilization. Strength training does not rehearse skills using momentum, explaining nonsignificant changes in locomotor or locomotion areas.

This case report of a young girl demonstrates the gains in participation and activity performance along with reduced impairments following a high repition, low load strengthening program.

Starfish Therapies (Drs Menz and Hatten), San Mateo, California; Crean School of Health & Life Sciences (Dr Grant-Beuttler), Chapman University, Orange, California.

Correspondence: Stacy M. Menz, PT, DPT, PCS, Starfish Therapies, 1650 S Amphlett Blvd Ste 108, San Mateo, CA 94402 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.