Melanie Morgan-Jones is local practitioner based in West Berkshire who is conducting a doctoral research programme with the University of Bath to investigate neuromuscular function and psychological well-being improvements in boys aged 8-11 yrs with Dyspraxia/DCD. The children do not need to have a formal diagnosis in place however the school they attend will probably have identified them as having motor coordination issues which are quite challenging. Typically the research would be looking for participants who will score on a motor skills test in the 15th centile or below.
The research project will end at the end of March and each boy is studied for 8 weeks so this is the last opportunity for new families looking for help for boys with dyspraxia /DCD to join the project. Before any child can take part, the parents will receive an information pack containing a child information sheet and a parent information sheet. These will permit them to decide if the study would be something they would like to be involved with. If they are interested then they will sign a consent form and the researcher will contact them to discuss start dates etc.
Weeks 1 and 8
Assessment: This is when an Occupational Therapist will assess their motor skills score to see if they are eligible to take part. Importantly this is not pass or fail assessment, it is solely based upon whether their motor skills function is severe enough to be involved in the study. Questionnaire: A research assistant will complete some brief questionnaires over the telephone with the child’s parents and teacher.
Weeks 2 to 7
During these weeks the children will receive a non-invasive soft tissue therapy. This isn’t massage but with gentle moves made over muscles and ligaments. To date, the children who have taken part have reported that they found it most relaxing and enjoyable. The parents can be present with the child during their treatment in a treatment clinic or they can elect to have their child treated in a quiet room in the school during the school day if the school staff are in agreement.
There are no guaranteed results for each individual child but results observed so far within the group of participating boys include: improved hand dexterity, more confidence and coordination, seeming more ‘together’ and less ‘gangly’, less stressed, calmer, better able to sleep.
All individuals associated with the research have Disclosure and Barring certification at the highest level of clearance and the research study has been granted full ethical approval by the University of Bath psychology department. The supervisors for this research project are Dr Fiona Knott at the University of Reading and Dr Chris Ashwin in the psychology department of the University of Bath.
For more details, please contact Melanie on 01488 648741 in the evenings.