Deficits in Coordinative Bimanual Timing Precision in Children With Specific Language Impairment.
ABSTRACT: Our objective was to delineate components of motor performance in specific language impairment (SLI); specifically, whether deficits in timing precision in one effector (unimanual tapping) and in two effectors (bimanual clapping) are observed in young children with SLI.Twenty-seven 4- to 5-year-old children with SLI and 21 age-matched peers with typical language development participated. All children engaged in a unimanual tapping and a bimanual clapping timing task. Standard measures of language and motor performance were also obtained.No group differences in timing variability were observed in the unimanual tapping task. However, compared with typically developing peers, children with SLI were more variable in their timing precision in the bimanual clapping task. Nine of the children with SLI performed greater than 1 SD below the mean on a standardized motor assessment. The children with low motor performance showed the same profile as observed across all children with SLI, with unaffected unimanual and impaired bimanual timing precision.Although unimanual timing is unaffected, children with SLI show a deficit in timing that requires bimanual coordination. We propose that the timing deficits observed in children with SLI are associated with the increased demands inherent in bimanual performance.
Project description:Reaching and grasping (prehension) is one of the earliest developing motor skills in humans, but continued prehension development in childhood and adolescence enables the performance of increasingly complex manual tasks. In individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) atypical unimanual reaching and grasping has been reported, but to date, no studies have investigated discrete bimanual movements. We examined unimanual and bimanual reach to grasp tasks in youth with ASD to better understand how motor performance might change with increasing complexity. Twenty youth with ASD (10.1 ± 2.4 years) and 17 youth with typical development (TD) (9.6 ± 2.6 years) were instructed to reach and grasp cubes that became illuminated. Participants were asked to reach out with the right and/or left hands to grasp and lift targets located at near (18 cm) and/or far (28 cm) distances. For the unimanual (simplest) condition, participants grasped one illuminated cube (with either the left or right hand). For the bimanual conditions, participants grasped two illuminated cubes located at the same distance from the start position (bimanual symmetric condition) or two illuminated cubes located at different distances (bimanual asymmetric condition). Significant interactions among diagnostic group, task complexity, and age were found for initiation time (IT) and movement time (MT). Specifically, the older children in both groups initiated and performed their movements faster in the unimanual condition than in the bimanual conditions, although the older children with ASD produced slower ITs and MTs compared to typically developing peers across all three conditions. Surprisingly, the younger children with ASD had similar ITs and MTs as their peers for the unimanual condition but did not considerably slow these times to adjust for the complexity of the bimanual tasks. We hypothesize that they chose to re-use the motor plans that were generated for the unimanual trials rather than generate more appropriate motor plans for the bimanual tasks. An atypical spatiotemporal relationship between MT and peak aperture (PA) was also found in the ASD group. Together, our results suggest deficits in motor planning that result in subtle effects on performance in younger children with ASD that become more pronounced with age.
Project description:Motor learning in unimanual and bimanual planar reaching movements has been intensively investigated. Although distinct theoretical frameworks have been proposed for each of these reaching movements, the relationship between these movements remains unclear. In particular, the generalization of motor learning effects (transfer of learning effects) between unimanual and bimanual movements has yet to be successfully explained. Here, by extending a motor primitive framework, we analytically proved that the motor primitive framework can reproduce the generalization of learning effects between unimanual and bimanual movements if the mean activity of each primitive for unimanual movements is balanced to the mean for bimanual movements. In this balanced condition, the activity of each primitive is consistent with previously reported neuronal activity. The unimanual-bimanual balance leads to the testable prediction that generalization between unimanual and bimanual movements is more widespread to different reaching directions than generalization within respective movements. Furthermore, the balanced motor primitive can reproduce another previously reported phenomenon: the learning of different force fields for unimanual and bimanual movements.
Project description:Children with specific language impairments (SLIs) show impaired perception and production of language, and also show impairments in perceiving auditory cues to rhythm [amplitude rise time (ART) and sound duration] and in tapping to a rhythmic beat. Here we explore potential links between language development and rhythm perception in 45 children with SLI and 50 age-matched controls. We administered three rhythmic tasks, a musical beat detection task, a tapping-to-music task, and a novel music/speech task, which varied rhythm and pitch cues independently or together in both speech and music. Via low-pass filtering, the music sounded as though it was played from a low-quality radio and the speech sounded as though it was muffled (heard "behind the door"). We report data for all of the SLI children (N = 45, IQ varying), as well as for two independent subgroupings with intact IQ. One subgroup, "Pure SLI," had intact phonology and reading (N = 16), the other, "SLI PPR" (N = 15), had impaired phonology and reading. When IQ varied (all SLI children), we found significant group differences in all the rhythmic tasks. For the Pure SLI group, there were rhythmic impairments in the tapping task only. For children with SLI and poor phonology (SLI PPR), group differences were found in all of the filtered speech/music AXB tasks. We conclude that difficulties with rhythmic cues in both speech and music are present in children with SLIs, but that some rhythmic measures are more sensitive than others. The data are interpreted within a "prosodic phrasing" hypothesis, and we discuss the potential utility of rhythmic and musical interventions in remediating speech and language difficulties in children.
Project description:Dyslexia and Attention deficit disorder (AD) are prevalent neurodevelopmental conditions in children and adolescents. They have high comorbidity rates and have both been associated with motor difficulties. Little is known, however, about what is shared or differentiated in dyslexia and AD in terms of motor abilities. Even when motor skill problems are identified, few studies have used the same measurement tools, resulting in inconstant findings. The present study assessed increasingly complex gross motor skills in children and adolescents with dyslexia, AD, and with both Dyslexia and AD. Our results suggest normal performance on simple motor-speed tests, whereas all three groups share a common impairment on unimanual and bimanual sequential motor tasks. Children in these groups generally improve with practice to the same level as normal subjects, though they make more errors. In addition, children with AD are the most impaired on complex bimanual out-of-phase movements and with manual dexterity. These latter findings are examined in light of the Multiple Deficit Model.
Project description:The aims of this study were twofold: first, to develop and validate a timed test of unimanual and bimanual dexterity suitable for those with disability affecting hand function; second, to explore relationships between unimanual and bimanual completion times.We developed the Tyneside Pegboard Test (TPT), an electronically timed test with three peg sizes, incorporating an asymmetrical bimanual task. Nine hundred and seventy-four participants (455 males, 519 females; age range 4-80y) provided normative data. Test-retest reliability and construct validity were assessed (50 adults: 14 males, 36 females; 15-73y) on two occasions 2 weeks apart. Bimanual and unimanual completion times were measured in 87 children (51 males, 36 females) with unilateral cerebral palsy (CP) and 498 individuals in a comparison group (238 males, 260 females; 5-15y).The comparison group showed an asymmetrical U-shaped relationship between completion times and age. Intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.74 to 0.91, indicating moderate test-retest reliability. There was a negative relationship between average TPT bimanual times and Purdue pegboard bimanual scores (Spearman's rho -0.611, degrees of freedom 44, p<0.001). Children with unilateral CP had greater prolongation of bimanual than unimanual completion times compared with the comparison group (mean difference 20.31s, 95% confidence interval 18.13-22.49, p<0.001).The TPT is accessible for those with impaired hand function. Children with unilateral CP demonstrated disproportionate bimanual deficits, even allowing for unimanual dexterity: this has implications for therapy.We developed an adapted, electronically timed 9-hole pegboard test. Our modifications facilitate use by those with disability affecting hand function. The test incorporates an asymmetrical bimanual task. Children with unilateral cerebral palsy showed disproportionate bimanual dexterity deficits even allowing for unimanual dexterity.
Project description:The ability to precisely coordinate motor control to regularly-paced sensory stimuli requires an ability often called 'mental timekeeping', a distinct form of cognitive function. A consistent feature among conceptual models of the internal clock mechanism is an element of 'top-down' cognitive control. Although lesion and fMRI studies have provided indirect evidence supporting the role of the prefrontal cortex in exerting top-down influence over lower-level sensory and motor regions, little direct evidence exists. We investigated changes in Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM)-measured top-down control of sensorimotor timing during different phases of a unimanual, auditory-paced finger-tapping task in a cohort of healthy adults and adolescents. The brain regions examined were organized into a network of excitatory connections between bilateral dorso- and ventrolateral prefrontal cortices and motor and auditory cortices. This baseline connectivity changed depending on whether participants listened passively to the pacing cue, synchronized their regular interval finger tapping with the cue, or continued tapping in absence of the cue. Subjects who performed better at maintaining the prescribed tapping pace in the absence of the auditory cue relied more on top-down control of the motor and sensory regions, while those with less accurate performance relied more on sensory driven, bottom-up control of the motor cortex. No significant maturational effects were observed in either the behavioral or DCM path weight data. Both right and left prefrontal cortex were found to exert control over timing behavioral accuracy, but there were distinctly lateralized roles with respect to optimal performance.
Project description:The coordination of movement between the upper limbs is a function highly distributed across the animal kingdom. How the central nervous system generates such bilateral, synchronous movements, and how this differs from the generation of unilateral movements, remain uncertain. Electrophysiologic and functional imaging studies support that the activity of many brain regions during bimanual and unimanual movement is quite similar. Thus, the same brain regions (and indeed the same neurons) respond similarly during unimanual and bimanual movements as measured by electrophysiological responses. How then are different motor behaviors generated? To address this question, we studied unimanual and bimanual movements using fMRI and constructed networks of activation using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Our results suggest that (1) the dominant hemisphere appears to initiate activity responsible for bimanual movement; (2) activation during bimanual movement does not reflect the sum of right and left unimanual activation; (3) production of unimanual movement involves a network that is distinct from, and not a mirror of, the network for contralateral unimanual movement; and (4) using SEM, it is possible to obtain robust group networks representative of a population and to identify individual networks which can be used to detect subtle differences both between subjects as well as within a single subject over time. In summary, these results highlight a differential role for the dominant and non-dominant hemispheres during bimanual movements, further elaborating the concept of handedness and dominance. This knowledge increases our understanding of cortical motor physiology in health and after neurological damage.
Project description:Background:Noisy galvanic vestibular stimulation (nGVS) has been shown to improve motor performance in people with and without disabilities. Previous investigations on the use of nGVS to improve upper-limb motor performance have focused on unimanual fine motor movements, nevertheless, bimanual gross movements are also essential for conducting activities of daily living and can be affected as a result of cerebral dysfunction. Consequently, in this study we investigated the effects of nGVS on bimanual gross motor performance. Methods:Twelve healthy participants completed a visuomotor task in which they performed bimanual upper-limb movements using two robots. During the task, participants tracked a target that oscillated following a sinusoidal amplitude-modulated trajectory. In half of the trials, participants received subthreshold nGVS, in the other half, they received sham stimulation. Primary outcome measure: percent improvement in root mean square error (RMSE) between the target's and cursors' trajectories. Secondary outcome measures: percent improvement in lag between the cursors and target; and percent improvement in RMSE between the cursors' trajectories. A post-test questionnaire was administered to evaluate the experience of participants. Results:Tracking error was not affected by nGVS: left -2.6(5.5)%, p = 0.128; right -0.9(6.2)%, p = 0.639; nor was bimanual coordination -1.5(9.6)%, p = 0.590. When comparing if one hand was affected more than the other, we did not find a statistically significant difference (-1.7(3.3)%, p = 0.098). Similar results were found for the lag. Questionnaire results indicated that the robotic devices did not limit participants' movements, did not make participants feel unsafe, nor were they difficult to control. Furthermore, participants did not feel unsafe with the nGVS device, nor did they report any discomfort due to nGVS. Conclusion:Results suggest that nGVS applied to people without disabilities do not affect bimanual gross motor performance. However, as this was the first study to investigate such effects, stimulation parameters were based on previous unimanual fine motor studies. Future studies should investigate optimal stimulation parameters for improving upper-limb gross motor performance. Overall, participants felt safe using the robotic devices and receiving the noisy electrical stimulation. As such, a similar setup could potentially be employed for subsequent studies investigating the relation between upper-limb performance and nGVS.
Project description:This study reports on the sensitivity of sentence repetition as a marker of specific language impairment (SLI) in different subgroups of children in middle childhood and examines the role of memory and grammatical knowledge in the performance of children with and without language difficulties on this task. Eleven year old children, 197 with a history of SLI and 75 typically developing (TD) peers were administered sentence repetition, phonological short term memory (PSTM) and grammatical morphology tasks. Children with a history of SLI were divided into four subgroups: specific language impairment, non-specific language impairment, low cognition with resolved language and resolved. Performance on the sentence repetition task was significantly impaired in all four subgroups of children with a history of SLI when compared to their age peers. Regression analyses revealed grammatical knowledge was predictive of performance for TD children and children with a history of SLI. However, memory abilities were significantly predictive of sentence repetition task performance for children with a history of SLI only. Processes involved in sentence repetition are more taxing of PSTM for individuals with a history of SLI in middle childhood in a way that does not appear to be the case for TD children.
Project description:Movement atypicalities in speed, coordination, posture, and gait have been observed across the autism spectrum (AS) and atypicalities in coordination are more commonly observed in AS individuals without delayed speech (DSM-IV Asperger) than in those with atypical or delayed speech onset. However, few studies have provided quantitative data to support these mostly clinical observations. Here, we compared perceptual and motor performance between 30 typically developing and AS individuals (21 with speech delay and 18 without speech delay) to examine the associations between limb movement control and atypical speech development. Groups were matched for age, intelligence, and sex. The experimental design included: an inspection time task, which measures visual processing speed; the Purdue Pegboard, which measures finger dexterity, bimanual performance, and hand-eye coordination; the Annett Peg Moving Task, which measures unimanual goal-directed arm movement; and a simple reaction time task. We used analysis of covariance to investigate group differences in task performance and linear regression models to explore potential associations between intelligence, language skills, simple reaction time, and visually guided movement performance. AS participants without speech delay performed slower than typical participants in the Purdue Pegboard subtests. AS participants without speech delay showed poorer bimanual coordination than those with speech delay. Visual processing speed was slightly faster in both AS groups than in the typical group. Altogether, these results suggest that AS individuals with and without speech delay differ in visually guided and visually triggered behavior and show that early language skills are associated with slower movement in simple and complex motor tasks.