Given the importance of walking in everyday life, understanding why this is challenging for some populations is particularly important. Studies focusing on gait patterns of individuals with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) have shown that whilst increased variability is characteristic of walking patterns for this group, differences in spatio-temporal gait variables seem only to arise when task demands increase. However, these differences occur under rather artificial conditions, for example using a treadmill. The aim of this study, therefore was to examine the step characteristics of individuals with and without DCD whilst walking along an irregular terrain. Thirty-five individuals with DCD aged 8-32 years and 35 age and gender-matched controls participated in this study. Participants were divided into 3 age groups; 8-12years (n = 12), 13-17years (n =12) and 18-32years (n=11). Participants walked up and down a 6m walkway for two minutes on two terrains: level and irregular. VICON 3D motion analysis was used to extract measures of foot placement, velocity and angle of the head and trunk. Results showed that both groups adapted their gait to negotiate the irregular terrain, but the DCD group were more affected than their TD peers; walking significantly slower with shorter, wider steps and inclining their head more towards the ground. This suggests an adaptive approach used by individuals with DCD to preserve stability and increase visual sampling whilst negotiating an irregular terrain.
Gentle, JBarnett, AnneWilmut, Kate
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health
Year of publication: 2016Date of RADAR deposit: 2016-08-25