Year of Publication

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Leslie Scott

Clinical Mentor

Paula Johnson

Committee Member

Dr. Diana Inman

Abstract

This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the Gymnastics through Early Movement program in increasing motor ability in children with motor developmental delay or coordination deficits through the perception of the parent. The Gymnastics through Early Movement program is a therapeutic gymnastics program developed by a pediatric nurse and professional member of United States of America Gymnastics. The program was designed specifically for pre-school aged children who experience motor challenges. Over the course of six weeks, each 45-minute lesson included activities and obstacles focusing on fundamental preschool gymnastics skills to develop strength, coordination, and flexibility. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports child participation in sports to increase development in all areas. Gymnastics is one of the most comprehensive sports available to children, incorporating strength, flexibility, and balance to develop a range of motor and coordination skills as well as improving body awareness and posture. Evidence has shown participation in early intervention programs that address mental or neuromuscular and movement-related functions result in significant improvement (Park, Maitra, Achon, Loyola, Rincon, 2014). The Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire (DCDQ) was used to evaluate the change in parent perception of their children’s motor and coordination skills after participating in the Gymnastics through Early Movement program. Results demonstrated positive findings in the areas of general coordination and motor control. Specific improvements were found in post-test scores regarding endurance, posture, and agility. The fine motor category showed increased mean scores from 8 to 8.3. Mean scores for coordination increased from 12.6 to 14.3 and total score means increased from 37 to 41. All participants reported the Gymnastics through Early Movement program as valuable and fun for their children.

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