Brief Report
Issue Date: September/October 2020
Published Online: August 03, 2020
Updated: August 07, 2020
Pilot Study to Measure Deficits in Proprioception in Children With Somatodyspraxia
Author Affiliations
  • Virginia Way Tong Chu, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond; vchu@vcu.edu
Article Information
Complementary/Alternative Approaches / Hand and Upper Extremity / Neurologic Conditions / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Sensory Integration and Processing / Columns: Brief Report
Brief Report   |   August 03, 2020
Pilot Study to Measure Deficits in Proprioception in Children With Somatodyspraxia
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2020, Vol. 74, 7405345010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.040709
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2020, Vol. 74, 7405345010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.040709
Abstract

Importance: Given the importance of proprioception in motor coordination, the identification of sensory deficits contributing to motor challenges is crucial for appropriate intervention; however, objective proprioceptive tests are not currently available in pediatric clinical practice.

Objective: To pilot test methods for assessing proprioception in children. Children with somatodyspraxia were predicted to have reduced proprioceptive awareness compared with age-matched control children.

Design: Observational study.

Setting: Individual clinic.

Participants: Ten children identified as having somatodyspraxia and 10 typically developing children, ages 6–8 yr.

Outcomes and Measures: Spatial awareness and force perception were assessed by having the children match arm positions and grip and pinch forces using electronic dynamometers.

Results: All children were able to complete the proprioceptive assessments. Of those identified as having somatodyspraxia, 90% showed deficits in at least one area of proprioception. Children with somatodyspraxia performed more poorly on spatial awareness and force perception tests than typically developing children (p < .05).

Conclusions and Relevance: Children with dyspraxia have difficulties with spatial awareness and force perception, confirming a somatosensory contribution to dyspraxia.

What This Article Adds: This article presents a framework and methods to measure proprioception in children. These methods will allow occupational therapy practitioners to quantify the proprioceptive deficits common in children with dyspraxia.