A pilot trial of a cognitive treatment for children with developmental coordination disorder
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This pilot study compared a new treatment approach, the Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) to the Contemporary Treatment Approach (CTA) to treating children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). CO-OP emphasises problem-solving strategies and guided discovery of child and task specific strategies. CTA encompasses a variety of approaches, such as neuromuscular, multi-sensory, and biomechanical, focusing on motor aspects of skill acquisition. Twenty children with a mean age of 9.05 years (S.D. = 1.23) participated in the study. All children had normal intelligence, scored below the 15th percentile on a standardised test of motor ability, and demonstrated motor difficulties significant enough to warrant referral for treatment. Pre- and post-measures included the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM), the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS), the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOTMP), the Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration-Revised (VMI), the motor items of the Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC), and the Performance Quality Rating Scale (PQRS). In both groups, treatment goals were child-chosen. Both treatments lead to improved COPM self-ratings of performance and satisfaction; however, improvements in the CO-OP group were greater than those in the CTA group. These results were paralleled by PQRS scores, and the Motor scores on the VABS, but not on the BOTMP measures. This outcome still needs replication as no control group was involved and because of the occurrence of pre-treatment differences between the CO-OP and CTA groups on relevant measures. Follow-up data indicated that children who received CO-OP tended to experience greater long-term maintenance of their motor goals and acquired strategies; follow-up parent-report rated CO-OP treatment as more useful than CTA treatment. Self-report, observer report, standardised assessment, and follow-up all demonstrated the effectiveness of the CO-OP approach, supporting the use of CO-OP and suggesting further investigation of this new cognitive intervention.
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