LANGUAGE-BASED LEARNING DISABILITIES AND MOTOR COORDINATION: ASSOCIATIONS AND APPLICATIONS
Authors: Nancy Getchell, Samuel W. Logan and Kevin Neeld
Abstract: In this paper, we review research that examines associations between language-based learning disabilities (LD) and motor coordination. Driving this review is our belief that the theoretical concept of embodied cognition (Chiel & Beer, 1997; Thelen, 2000), which suggests a dynamic interdependence of perceptual, cognitive, and motor processes, may hold promise in providing both questions and solutions for those interested in understanding learning disabilities. Based on the literature, relationships appear to exist between language and motor development in children at risk for language-based learning disabilities, which are suggestive of motor skill acquisition delays and differences in fine and gross motor coordination. The relationship between learning disabilities and movement disorder suggest that decrements in motor coordination may indicate a child may be at risk for LD; potentially, standardized motor tests may be used as part of a battery of tests to identify young children at risk for language-based learning disabilities . We believe this line of inquiry holds promise, and calls for more empirical research into the quantitative nature of the learning disabilities-motor coordination association, and for more theoretical consideration into the heuristic value of embodied cognition as applied to language-based learning disabilities.