It can be difficult for some children to complete two tasks at one time (dual task conditions). In the school setting, the task of walking and carrying school supplies, lunch tray or textbooks is a common occurrence. Here is some recent research that was conducted to evaluate the effects of dual task constraints on walking and bimanual coordination for 10 children with unilateral cerebral palsy (CP) and 10 children without unilateral CP. The children (ages 7-11 years old) were asked to
- stand still while holding a box level (standing condition)
- walk along a path (baseline condition)
- walk again while carrying a box steady and level (dual task condition) at a preferred speed.
The results indicated the following:
- the children with unilateral CP decreased their walking speed, stride length, step width, and toe clearance from the floor under dual task constraints when compared to the baseline condition.
- typically developing children did not change under dual task constraints.
- the children with unilateral CP also had less level box carrying, larger vertical box movement, and larger elbow movements when compared to typically developing children under dual task condition.
The researchers concluded that future treatments or assessments should consider using dual task constraints to manipulate the difficulty of tasks.
Reference: Hung YC, Meredith GS. Influence of dual task constraints on gait performance and bimanual coordination during walking in children with unilateral Cerebral Palsy. Res Dev Disabil. 2014 Feb 13. pii: S0891-4222(14)00038-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.01.024. [Epub ahead of print]
Get activity ideas to challenge motor planning and coordination from 50 Sensory Motor Activities for Kids! at http://yourtherapysource.com/50book.html