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A dysfunction in predictive motor timing is put forward to underlie DCD-related motor problems. Predictive timing allows for the pre-selection of motor programmes (except ‘program’ in computers) in order to decrease processing load and facilitate reactions. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), this study investigated the neural correlates of motor timing in DCD (n = 17) and typically developing children (n = 17). The task involved motor responses to sequences of visual stimuli with predictive or unpredictive interstimulus intervals (ISIs). DCD children responded with a smaller reaction time (RT) advantage to predictive ISIs compared to typically developing children. Typically developing children exhibited higher activation in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) for responses at unpredictive as opposed to predictive ISIs, whereas activations in DCD children were non-differentiable. Moreover, DCD children showed less activation than typically developing children in the right DLPFC, the left posterior cerebellum (crus I) and the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) for this contrast. Notably, activation in the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) positively correlated with RT as an indicator of processing load in both groups. These data indicate that motor performance in DCD children requires extra processing demands due to impaired predictive encoding.

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Journal Article

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