New study shows effects of visual therapy on children with DCD

Marelize Santana -- Fri, 06/23/2017 - 12:13

New study shows effects of visual therapy on children with DCD

There is hope for children suffering from Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). This is the bottom line of a new study by Prof Dané Coetzee and Prof Anita Pienaar at the North-West University's (NWU’s) Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhASRec) research focus area.

Their study of 32 children between the ages of seven and eight found that the effects of visual therapy can have substantial benefits.

As its name implies, CDC causes coordination problems that can affect a child’s vision, perception, balance, concentration and learning ability, among other things. Visual therapy can be extremely helpful in improving and even correcting visual impairments such as poor ocular motor (eye movement) control.

How visual therapy can help
Visual theraphy is an individualised intervention programme that addresses a child’s specific visual shortcoming by making use of accommodation flippers, prisms and specialised visual apparatus.

When both eyes work together in a coordinated way, it is easier to focus, read, track movement and so on. When the eyes do not work together, as is common among children with DCD, this can contribute to academic problems and difficulties in playing sport.

In the PhASRec study, the researchers used a Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC) to assess the impact of the condition on their neuro-motor functioning, including their ocular motor control.

Children with ocular motor problems then received visual therapy once a week for 40 minutes during school hours, over a total period of 18 weeks. The results indicated that visual therapy contributed significantly to the improvement of the DCD status of all the children in the intervention group.

School-age children with DCD who have poor ocular motor control should have visual therapy as early as possible to prevent negative long-term effects on academic performance and motor skill development, the researchers say.

The results of the study generated valuable information regarding the sustainable effects of visual therapy intervention. It also emphasised the need for more visual therapy intervention programmes.

Prof Anita Pienaar.   Prof Dané Coetzee.