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Development of Multisensory Reweighting Is Impaired for Quiet Stance Control in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Author: Woei-Nan Bair et al.

by Woei-Nan Bair, Tim Kiemel, John J. Jeka, Jane E. Clark


Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a leading movement disorder in children that commonly involves poor postural control. Multisensory integration deficit, especially the inability to adaptively reweight to changing sensory conditions, has been proposed as a possible mechanism but with insufficient characterization. Empirical quantification of reweighting significantly advances our understanding of its developmental onset and improves the characterization of its difference in children with DCD compared to their typically developing (TD) peers.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Twenty children with DCD (6.6 to 11.8 years) were tested with a protocol in which visual scene and touch bar simultaneously oscillateded medio-laterally at different frequencies and various amplitudes. Their data were compared to data on TD children (4.2 to 10.8 years) from a previous study. Gains and phases were calculated for medio-lateral responses of the head and center of mass to both sensory stimuli. Gains and phases were simultaneously fitted by linear functions of age for each amplitude condition, segment, modality and group. Fitted gains and phases at two comparison ages (6.6 and 10.8 years) were tested for reweighting within each group and for group differences. Children with DCD reweight touch and vision at a later age (10.8 years) than their TD peers (4.2 years). Children with DCD demonstrate a weak visual reweighting, no advanced multisensory fusion and phase lags larger than those of TD children in response to both touch and vision.


Two developmental perspectives, postural body scheme and dorsal stream development, are provided to explain the weak vision reweighting. The lack of multisensory fusion supports the notion that optimal multisensory integration is a slow developmental process and is vulnerable in children with DCD.