Haptic perception is altered in children with developmental coordination disorder

Yu Ting Tseng, Jessica M. Holst-Wolf, Chia Liang Tsai, Fu Chen Chen, Juergen Konczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting the motor system, but it may also present with signs of somatosensory dysfunction. This study examined whether haptic perception, which relies on somatosensory afferents, is impaired in children with DCD. Haptic sensitivity and acuity were systematically quantified in children with DCD and contrasted to the performance of typically developing (TD) children and young adults (each group N = 20). All participants performed a curvature detection task measuring haptic sensitivity and a curvature discrimination task measuring haptic acuity. In both tasks, participants moved the index finger of their dominant hand over a surface contour and verbally indicated whether they could detect its curvature or discriminate between two curved contours. Based on their verbal responses haptic detection and discrimination thresholds were obtained. The main findings are as follows: First, the DCD group had significantly elevated haptic discrimination thresholds (lower haptic acuity) compared to both TD children and adult controls. Second, we found no evidence that haptic sensitivity is impaired in DCD. Third, haptic acuity significantly correlated with clinical motor measures, indicating that higher levels of haptic acuity were associated with higher motor abilities. We conclude that DCD may be associated with impaired haptic perception, which likely contributes to the observable fine motor deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We sincerely thank the students for their participation and the administration of the two schools for accommodating the data collection. This study was supported by research grants from the Center for Translational Sensory Science at the University of Minnesota, research start-up funds at the National Tsing Hua University to YT, and by research development funds of JK, CT and FC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Human
  • Motor control
  • Motor development
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Perceptual development
  • Somatosensory
  • Thresholds


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