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Moving matters for children with developmental coordination disorder

We12Bfit!: improving fitness and motivation for activity
PhD ceremony:Ms P. (Petra) Crutzen-Braaksma
When:January 22, 2020
Supervisors:prof. dr. R. (Rienk) Dekker, prof. dr. C.K. (Corry) van der Sluis, dr. M.M. (Marina) Schoemaker
Co-supervisor:dr. I. Stuive
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Moving matters for children with developmental coordination

Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) experience difficulties in performing and learning motor tasks. They may have difficulty learning to ride a bike, difficulties with dressing or catching balls. Likely due to their coordination difficulties they are less active and less physically fit than their peers: they spend more time watching other children play, they are active at lower intensity, they have problems keeping up with other children during activities and they fatigue quickly. This was also noticed by the pe-diatric physical therapists from the Center for Rehabilitation, University Medical Center Groningen. Their search for an evidence-based approach to improve the fitness of children with DCD formed the starting point for this thesis. In this thesis I describe the development and evaluation of We12BFit!: an intensive group training to improve fitness followed by an individual lifestyle intervention to stimulate 7 to 12 year old children with DCD and their families to stay active or become more active. After participation in We12BFit!, the children showed improved endurance, anaerobic power and motivation for activity. In addition, parents, trainers and coaches indicated that the children’s social emotional well-being, enjoyment of activities, motor skills and weight seemed to be improved after participation. We12BFit! offers children with DCD the opportunity to identify with other children with DCD, to experience success and to push their boundaries. This may have contributed to improving the children’s self-efficacy and may have reinforced their motivation for activity.