Screening for motor coordination challenges in children using teacher ratings of physical ability and activity
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We examined the effectiveness of a teacher-based rating scale called the teacher estimation of activity form (TEAF) to screen for developmental coordination disorder (DCD) in children. A random selection of 15 of 75 schools from the District School Board of Niagara in Ontario, Canada was chosen for this study. Every consented child in Grade 4 (n=502) was evaluated for probable DCD (pDCD) in school using the short form Bruininks-Oseretsky test of motor proficiency (BOTMP-SF). Each student also completed the children's self perceptions of adequacy in and predilection toward physical activity (CSAPPA) scale, participation questionnaire, and Léger 20-meter shuttle run, and had their height and weight measured. The 27 children (5.1%) who scored below the 5th percentile on BOTMP-SF were designated as pDCD cases and the 475 children who scored above the 5th percentile served as controls. Results showed that mean TEAF scores were significantly lower for pDCD children than controls (p<.001). Total TEAF scores ranging from 28 to 32 were preferred in maintaining good sensitivity (.74, 95% CI=.55-.87 to .85, 95% CI=.68-.94). The area under the ROC curve was .77 (95% CI, .68-.86) for the TEAF total score, and some individual items performed approximately as well as the full scale. The TEAF was positively correlated with measures of physical activity and fitness. The TEAF appears to be an effective tool in screening for DCD, particularly in a population setting. Considering the brevity of the TEAF and the discriminative power of individual items, this instrument would be effective in an abbreviated version.
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