Altered postural control strategies and sensory organization in children with developmental coordination disorder

Shirley S.M. Fong, Wai Nam Tsang, Gabriel Y.F. Ng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The postural control of children with and without developmental coordination disorder (DCD) was compared under conditions of reduced or conflicting sensory input. Twenty-two children with DCD (16 males, 6 females; mean age 7. years 6. months, SD 1. year 5. months) and 19 children with normal motor development were tested (13 males, 6 females; mean age 6. years 11. months, SD 1. year 1. month). Standing balance, sensory organization and motor control strategy were evaluated using the sensory organization test (SOT). The results revealed that children with DCD had lower composite equilibrium scores (p< .001), visual ratios (p= .005) and vestibular ratios (p= .002) than normal children in the control group. No significant between-group difference in their average somatosensory ratio was observed. Additionally, children with DCD had lower motor strategy scores (swayed more on their hips) than the normal children when forced to depend on vestibular cues alone to balance (p< .05). We conclude that children with DCD had deficits in standing balance control in conditions that included reduced or conflicting sensory signals. The visual and vestibular systems tended to be more involved in contributing to the balance deficits than the somatosensory system. Moreover, children with DCD tended to use hip strategy excessively when forced to rely primarily on vestibular signals to maintain postural stability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1327
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Balance deficits
  • Clumsy children
  • Movement strategy
  • Sensory organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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