Students with significant motor skill impairment : a longitudinal study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education, Department of Education, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This is a four year follow-up study of a group of students who were originally tested in the 1982 South Auckland Perceptual Motor Dysfunction Survey in Hamilton. All those students identified at the primary school standard three level as having significantly impaired motor skills (clumsy), and a selected group of students who were just above the level of significant impairment, were traced for retesting in order to examine the motor skill development of these students. In all 55 students were retested. Thirty-eight of the 62 students (61%) identified with significant impaired motor skills in 1982 were retraced in the Hamilton area in 1986. Seventeen of 23 students selected (74%) from the group of students whose motor skills were just above the level of impairment were also retraced. This retesting percentage result compares favourably with other related longitudinal studies. The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency was used to test students at both the standard three and form three levels. This is a comprehensive and reliable test of motor skills. Such an extensive motor skills testing programme has not to the writer's knowledge been undertaken in the context of a longitudinal study before. Seventy-three percent (73%) of those students ( two out of every three students) with significantly impaired motor skills in 1982 continued to have motor skill problems at the form three level in 1986. Gross motor skills (Balance, Bilateral Co-ordination, Strength, and Running Speed and Agility) were more impaired than fine motor skills with Balance subtest skills showing the greatest degree of impairment. Thirty-five percent of those students (35%) whose motor skills just were just above the level of significant impairment at the standard three level showed a deterioration in their motor skills over the four years to be classified as having significantly impaired motor skills in 1986. The above results and a calculation of the incidence of students with significantly impaired motor skills at both the standard three and form three levels do not support a maturational effect on motor skill development. This study briefly explored whether student participation in sport and recreation pursuits influenced the development of motor skills. No direct correlation was found. Schools were however identified as significant providers of sport and recreation opportunities for the students tested. The results of this times series research design approach were able to be compared to the cross-sectional design of the 1982 South Auckland Perceptual Motor Dysfunction Survey as means of determining the incidence level of students with significant motor skill problems and identifying the motor skill characteristics of such students. Differences are evident from these approaches and are discussed briefly.