Demers I.1, Morneau-Vaillancourt G.2, Camden C.3, Maltais D.B.4,5
1Laval University, Rehabilitation, Québec, Canada, 2Laval University, Psychology, Québec, Canada, 3Sherbrooke University, Rehabilitation, Sherbrooke, Canada, 4Laval University, Rehabilitation, Quebec City, Canada, 5Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, Quebec City, Canada

Background: Compared to peers without a disability, children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) participate less in physical activities. They also report lower physical activity self-efficacy and less enjoyment of physical education class. Physical therapists are therefore often called to consult with physical educators. A synthesis of published recommendations for supporting the participation in physical activities of children with DCD would be of use to physical therapists consulting in schools.

Purpose: Identify and synthesize published physical activity participation recommendations for children with DCD.

Methods: A scoping review was performed to answer the question: “What are the current recommended practices for teaching and adapting physical activity for children with DCD?” After identification of the question, the scoping review process consisted of four additional steps; 1) determining a search strategy, 2) document selection, 3) data extraction, and 4) thematic analysis of results to synthesize recommendations.

Results: The peer-reviewed literature, books and websites published from June 1 2005 to May 31 2015 indexed in nine databases were searched using a variety of key words and phrases. A total of 1542 references were identified. Forty-seven documents met the selection criteria (29 peer-reviewed published scientific articles, 9 books and 9 webpages). Two major themes emerged from the recommendations. “Learning strategies or adaptations” (n =41 documents) and “Physical activity selection” (n = 38 documents). Learning strategies or adaptations referred to different strategies and adaptations that could be employed for a variety of physical activities during the learning phase or when the activity was being adapted for the child. These were; 1) modifying the task or the child´s role during the activity, 2) modifying the activity environment, 3) breaking down the task, 4) providing cues, 5) setting goals, 6) using cognitive strategies to support learning the task, 7) setting specific practice parameters (frequency, duration, context), and 8) demonstrating a positive attitude regarding the child’s performance. Physical activity selection included recommending that activities be performed individually or in a group (no consensus) or that activities be recreational, organized or competitive (no consensus). Also recommended were physical activities that were not specific to a sport (e.g. strength training) as well as those that could be considered a sport (e.g. swimming). No recommendations were explicitly based on empirical data.

Conclusion(s): Several learning strategies or adaptations were identified that could be used during the learning phase of a physical activity or when the activity was being adapted for the child with DCD. Specific physical activities were also recommended, although there was no clear consensus regarding which types of physical activities were best for children with DCD. Further studies are needed to provide empirical support of these recommendations and to provide consensus on the best physical activities for this group.

Implications: The recommendations synthesized in this study can be used by physical therapists who consult in schools to help physical educators support the participation in physical activities of children with DCD. Given the present lack of empirical data, these recommendations should also be supplemented by evaluation of the individual child with DCD.

Funding acknowledgements: This project was supported via student scholarship from FQRSC-supported research group. (Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture)

Topic: Paediatrics

Ethics approval: Ethics approval was not required.

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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