A comparison of posture control: typically developing children vs. children with ADHD
Aranha, Karen M.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate posture control and gross motor performance of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (N=13). Two groups of male participants were studied: younger (6-10 years of age) and older (11-14 years) ages. The specific objectives were: a) to compare performance of children with ADHD without (OFF) and with (ON) medication, b) to compare ADHD participants to age-matched typically developing (TD) peers (N=12), and c) to examine the relationship between balance and motor skills in both groups. The variables derived from the Sensory Organization Test (Neurocom balance Master) were the following balance indices: equilibrium scores (EQ), sensory ratios (SOM, VIS, VEST), and peak anterior-posterior center of pressure (COP) velocities. The variables used from the Test of Gross Motor Development were locomotor (LOC) and object manipulation (OBJ) scores. The results indicated that regardless of age there was a significant difference between the ADHD OFF and ON conditions for the ADHD group, with higher EQ scores (better balance) obtained in the ON condition. No significant differences were found between the ADHD (OFF/ON) and the TD groups, however age main effects were observed for each of the dependent variables when the ADHD OFF condition was compared to the TD group. Regardless of group membership older participants had better balance indices compared to the younger participants, reflecting a developmental effect. This also indicates similar developmental profiles for both the ADHD and the TD groups. A moderate correlation was evident between balance and LOC motor skills in the TD group, but not in participants with ADHD (OFF condition). Overall, the results indicate: a) use of medication improved the composite balance index (EQ), b) children with ADHD had comparable posture control and gross motor skills to their TD peers, and both groups followed the same developmental trajectory, and finally, c) that there is a moderate relationship between balance and LOC skills with the TD group, which was not evident in the ADHD group.