Research Topic

Perception-action interaction in typical and atypical development of praxis and gestures

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Motor actions and multisensory processing are inseparably linked and can be studied in a closed action/perception loop. More specifically, there is a strong interaction between ongoing perception of space and on-going action. In the field of praxic/gestural normal processing including at early developmental ...

Motor actions and multisensory processing are inseparably linked and can be studied in a closed action/perception loop. More specifically, there is a strong interaction between ongoing perception of space and on-going action. In the field of praxic/gestural normal processing including at early developmental stages, as well as in specific praxic disorders in children and adults, actions and tool use can be studied with paying attention to this complex interaction between multisensory processing, spatial organization and motor planification and action.This approach could lead to a better understanding of the core deficits in praxic/gestural development in children.

Indeed, specific impairment in praxis and gestural development in children is a growing field of research. In the last update of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, fifth edition (DSM-V, 2013), all of these disorders are grouped around the Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). This disease belongs to the category of neurodevelopmental disorders, and is included as a part of motor disorders (with the stereotyped movement disorders and tics). It should, however, be noted that a number of authors still use the term "developmental dyspraxia" (e.g., Steinman et al. 2010; Vaivre-Douret, 2014). Although scientific and clinical issues are considerable, systematic reviews remain scarce, given the difficulties related to an effective theorization and an accurate diagnostic approach. This is in part due to (1) the absence of heuristic theoretical model of gestural activity and its development in childhood. As a result, there is a real difficulty (2) to develop suitable assessment procedure and (3) to promote adequate care.

We suggest a series of articles in an attempt to respond to these issues:
- Action-perception interaction in normal and clinical populations (children and adults)
- Interactions between action and spatial organization
- Developmental studies of tool use
- Overview of dyspraxia and DCD
- Theoretical modeling of gestural development
- Differential clinical studies on dyspraxia and DCD (case studies, group studies, typical and atypical development)
- Analytic studies on relationships between gestural difficulties and cognition, such as semantic/social knowledge, sensorimotor skills/body schema, executive functions, technical reasoning...
- Examination of gesture assessment tools, i.e. cognitive tests, ecological approach (questionnaire), and of new forms of support, including long-term patients’ outcome.


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