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Portnoy, S., Rosenberg, L., Alazraki, T., Elyakim, E., & Friedman, J. (2015). Differences in Muscle Activity Patterns and Graphical Product Quality in Children Copying and Tracing Activities on Horizontal or Vertical Surfaces. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 25(3), 540�547.
Abstract: The observation that a given task, e.g. producing a signature, looks similar when created by different motor commands and different muscles groups is known as motor equivalence. Relatively little data exists regarding the characteristics of motor equivalence in children. In this study, we compared the level of performance when performing a tracing task and copying figures in two common postures: while sitting at a desk and while standing in front of a wall, among preschool children. In addition, we compared muscle activity patterns in both postures. Specifically, we compared the movements of 35 five- to six-year old children, recording the same movements of copying figures and path tracing on an electronic tablet in both a horizontal orientation, while sitting, and a vertical orientation, while standing. Different muscle activation patterns were observed between the postures, however no significant difference in the performance level was found, providing evidence of motor equivalence at this young age. The study presents a straightforward method of assessing motor equivalence that can be extended to other stages of development as well as motor disorders.
Portnoy, S., Mimouni-Bloch, A., Rosenberg, L., Offek, H., Berman, T., Kochavi, M., et al. (2018). Graphical Product Quality and Muscle Activity in Children With Mild Disabilities Drawing on a Horizontally or Vertically Oriented Tablet. Am J Occup Ther, 72(6), 1–7.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE. We compared performance level and muscle activity patterns during shape copying and tracing in two positions, while sitting at a desk and while standing in front of a wall, between typically developing (TD) preschool children and children with mild disabilities (MD).
METHOD. Twenty-two TD children (8 boys, 14 girls; mean [M] age 5 5.2 yr, standard deviation [SD] 5 0.1) and 13 children with MD (9 boys, 4 girls; M age 5 4.9 yr, SD 5 0.5) participated in this study.
RESULTS. The children performed faster and smoother movements when copying shapes on the vertical surface, with no reduction of accuracy, than on the horizontal surface. Children with MD exerted their upper trapezius while performing the short tasks on the vertical surface compared with their muscle activity on the horizontal surface.
CONCLUSION. Incorporating short copying or drawing tasks on a vertical surface may increase the control of proximal muscles and ease graphomotor performance in children with MD.