skip to Main Content
[font_awesome icon="phone"] 1-800-987-654[font_awesome icon="envelope"] [email protected][font_awesome icon="user"][wp_login_url text="User Login" logout_text="Logout"]

Adam Pennell collaborates on study to improve motor skills in children with and without disabilities | Writing

Seaver College assistant professor of sports medicine, Adam Pennell, recently collaborated with colleagues on the article “The effects of an integrative, universally designed intervention on motor skills for young children with and without disabilities,” published in Quarterly adapted physical activity.

Given emerging evidence that children’s motor skill is in secular decline in the United States, this study sought to determine the effects of an intervention program on the motor skills of 3- to 6-year-old children.

“In general, our children don’t become skilled movers –– the skills that allow them to be active, to play sports, to move as they get older,” Pennell shares. “It’s even worse for children with disabilities. We want to step in and raise motor skill levels as early as possible.

The intervention program used a station-like structure. Children walked through three gross motor stations in small groups, then visited a fine motor station in a large group.

As the researchers used this intervention program with children, they also incorporated inclusion – the researchers aimed for children with and without disabilities to work together on their motor skills. Additionally, in order to instruct children who had different levels of abilities and skills, the intervention was anchored in a specific framework called Universal Design for Learning that allowed the researchers to differentiate their instruction.

“Our overall vision is that we want to develop children on individual and holistic levels,” shares the assistant professor. “To accommodate different learners in the environment, we had multiple means of engagement, representation and action/expression. Examples included the presence of cartoon-like visual aids at stations to account for differences in communication, or providing different sizes, textures and densities of balls at the capture station, etc. You have to ask yourself, ‘In what different ways can we adapt to where each child is on any given day?’ »

Children in the intervention program with and without disabilities showed significant improvement in gross and fine motor skill and mastery.

“There was no differential effect between children with and without disabilities with respect to learning. On average, they both progressed together,” says Pennell. “Not all of our results were ideal, but the improvement in motor outcomes in both groups is quite new and exciting.”

To read the full article, visit Quarterly bulletin of adapted physical activity.

Back To Top