The Quiet Eye in a Throwing and Catching Task: Visuomotor Skill of Children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder
Miles, Charlotte Alice Louise
Date: 22 September 2014
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
PhD in Sport and Health Sciences
Knowing where and when to look is critical for effective performance of visually guided tasks. A gaze strategy termed the quiet eye (QE; the final gaze before the onset of a critical movement) is strongly associated with motor skill proficiency, with earlier and longer QE periods leading to improved visuomotor control. Children with ...
Knowing where and when to look is critical for effective performance of visually guided tasks. A gaze strategy termed the quiet eye (QE; the final gaze before the onset of a critical movement) is strongly associated with motor skill proficiency, with earlier and longer QE periods leading to improved visuomotor control. Children with poor motor proficiency, such as those with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), have impairments in the pick-up and processing of visual information, translating into poorly coordinated movements. The purpose of this project therefore was to perform the first examination of the QE strategy in children of different motor coordination abilities and furthermore to investigate the efficacy of task-specific QE training (QET) to improve the skills of children with and without DCD beyond the effects of a standard coaching technique. Study 1 determined that children with low motor coordination had later, shorter QE durations in comparison to coordinated children and as a result, performed worse in a specified motor task (throwing and catching). Study 2 therefore performed two experiments aimed at developing an appropriate but brief QET protocol for children to improve their throwing and catching ability. These experiments found that typically developing children were able to increase their QE durations with QET and this was reflected in a durable improvement in their motor skill execution. The final study examined this QET intervention in children with DCD. This was the first application of QET in a clinical population, and found that children with DCD were able to improve their QE durations, and make robust changes to their visuomotor control. These studies associate a longer QE with motor skill proficiency in children, and provide an important adjunct to current therapeutic intervention for children with poorly developed motor skills.
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