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The Timing Puzzle: Exploring Timing Abilities in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorders

Published in Research in Developmental Disabilities


Pediatric, Motor Skills

This study investigated the timing abilities and temporal aspects of handwriting performance in children with Developmental Coordination Disorders (DCD) compared to their typically developing (TD) peers. The sample included 42 children aged between 7 and 12, with 21 diagnosed with DCD and 21 showing typical development.

The children undertook 14 tasks using the Interactive Metronome (IM) and three functional handwriting tasks on an electronic tablet that was part of a computerized system called ComPET (Computerized Penmanship Evaluation Tool). The IM assessed response time, while the ComPET provided data on the time spent both on-paper and in-air per written stroke.

The results highlighted significant differences between the two groups in terms of both IM and handwriting tasks (ComPET). The children with DCD demonstrated slower response times on the IM and greater mean in-air time per stroke on all three handwriting tasks compared to the TD group. Furthermore, a moderate correlation was observed between the timing abilities (as measured by the IM scores) and the temporal measures of handwriting performance in each group.

The study also found that the mean IM response time explained 37% of the variance of the in-air time per stroke during a paragraph-copying task. Impressively, a discriminate function incorporating two measures reflecting timing ability accurately classified 81% of all participants into the correct groups.

In light of these findings, the authors strongly advocate for the use of the IM as an evaluation and intervention tool for children with DCD, as it appears to effectively address timing deficits in everyday functioning.

Abridged Summary & Results of Study

Timing abilities among children with developmental coordination disorders (DCD) in comparison to children with typical development

YEAR: 2012


AUTHOR: Sara Rosenblum & Noga Regeve

The Significant differences were found in timing abilities (millisecond timing scores on Interactive Metronome, IM) between children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and those who are typically developing (TD) with much slower response times in children with DCD. Temporal measures of handwriting performance between children with DCD and those who are TD yielded significant differences with far greater mean in-air time per stroke for all three tasks for the children with DCD. Additionally, moderate correlations were found between timing abilities (IM scores) and temporal measures of handwriting performance in each group. Timing abilities, as measured by IM, accurately predicted handwriting performance time among children with DCD. The authors strongly recommended consideration of IM as an evaluation and intervention tool for children with DCD.


  • n=42 children; ages 7-12 diagnosed with DCD (n=21) and those with typical development (n=21)
  • Assessment measures:
    • Interactive Metronome (IM)
    • Computerized Penmanship Evaluation Tool (ComPET)

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