An analysis of the efficacy of a motor skills training programme for young people with Moderate Learning Difficulties
International Journal of Special Education
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A secondary school for children with Moderate Learning Difficulties had requested assistance from psychological services for pupils that the school felt were experiencing poor motor-coordination and in some cases low self-esteem. An intervention programme for children with dyspraxic type difficulties (Portwood, 1999) was proposed as a suitable improvement programme for the children identified as being most in need of assistance (n=6). The programme ran for eighteen weeks (four weeks of the daily exercise programme, four weeks rest, and once again four weeks of the exercise programme). Pre and post-testing was carried out in the areas of speed of handwriting (Wallen et al., 1996) and general gross coordination improvement. It was deemed suitable to attempt to measure improvement with regards to speed of handwriting due to its relevancy in most facets of education. The results indicated that there was a significant level of improvement in the experimental group with regards to the speed of handwriting and also in general gross motor coordination. All members of the Video Review Panel felt that there were strong levels of improvement in the subjects (ranging from 45% to 65%). The participant staff members of the project school unanimously agreed that the intervention programme was worthwhile and that tangible benefits had been brought to both the children and the school as a result. Despite the small sample size, it was felt that there are implications for how children with moderate learning difficulties are viewed when improvement programmes are planned and implemented.
Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 11 - 24