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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2019 April;55(2):291-300

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.05427-8

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Is virtual reality effective in improving the motor performance of children with developmental coordination disorder? A systematic review

Jorge L. CAVALCANTE NETO 1 , Cristina C. de OLIVEIRA 1, Ana L. GRECO 1, Antonio R. ZAMUNÉR 2, Roberta C. MOREIRA 1, Eloisa TUDELLA 1

1 Department of Physiotherapy, Federal University of São Carlos, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil; 2 Department of Kinesiology, Catholic University of the Maule, Talca, Chile



INTRODUCTION: Although virtual reality (VR) is an increasingly popular approach within studies that propose interventions for children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), evidence on the effectiveness of VR remains debatable. The aim of this study was to synthesize evidence on the effectiveness of VR interventions for motor performance improvement in children with DCD.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: Searches were conducted in the MEDLINE/PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and ERIC databases to select studies published from 1 January 2006 to 30 November 2017. Two independent reviewers performed the primary study selection based on titles, abstracts and full-text reading; this selection included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that applied VR interventions to children with DCD and assessed outcomes related to motor performance. The methodological quality of the studies included in the search was assessed through the PEDro scale. PRISMA guidelines and Cochrane recommendations for systematic reviews were followed. The effect size of each intervention was calculated to allow for the interpretation of clinical effects, and the body of evidence was synthesised through the GRADE approach.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: A total of 2160 publications were retrieved; by the end of the selection process, twelve RCTs had been included. Of these twelve, seven were classified as having high methodological quality. Only three studies satisfied the homogeneity conditions to be assessed through the GRADE system, which showed a low level of evidence in favor of VR for improving the motor performance of children with DCD.
CONCLUSIONS: Not enough evidence currently exists to support or refute the use of VR over non-VR interventions for improving motor performance in children with DCD. Despite the potential for improving the motor performance of DCD children, the absence of specific protocols prevents formal recommendations of VR for these children. Future studies should consider VR protocols that are more specific regarding the tasks, features and target motor skills to be developed by DCD children. In addition, comparisons of similar groups at baseline, the concealment of allocation and the blinding of assessors are internal validity aspects which deserve researchers’ attention.


KEY WORDS: Motor skills disorders; Virtual reality exposure therapy; Motor skills

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