PuMA Lab (Perception and Motion Analysis)

Contact us: k.wilmut@brookes.ac.uk Follow us on twitter: @BrookesPUMA

About us

The work that we carry out in the PuMA Lab falls into 3 broad categories: 

  • perception and motor control
  • handwriting
  • development of assessment tools. 
We are interested in both typical and atypical development in children and adults, with a major focus on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and associated difficulties. However, our research also encompasses other groups including older adults and individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Two cameras pointing towards a hand with sensors

Latest findings

Differences in brain [mind] activity in individuals with motor difficulties and attentional difficulties

In collaboration with Emily Meachon at the University of Manheim in Germany, we collected data on brain activity in adults using electroencephalography, or EEG. This was part of a long-running recruitment effort in Germany and the UK, involving 59 adults with Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, both conditions, or neither condition to take part in the study. 

Collecting data on brain activity using EEG

Road crossing: the lived experience of children and adults with DCD

Adult walking across a pedestrian crossing

In collaboration with Dr. Catherine Purcell at Cardiff University, we collected questionnaire data asking about the experience of road crossing in both adults and children with DCD/Dyspraxia (child based experiences were reported by parents).

We asked how people felt about their (or their child’s) road crossing, about actual behaviours at the roadside and about perception of the likelihood of accidents happening (to look for a ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude).

Coordinating movement on a pedalo

All movement requires some coordination; the linking together of different body parts to produce smooth movement. If we take a simple task such as walking, the way in which the body is coordinated during this task may be different for different people (eg a child vs an adult) and may vary if we change the task (walking fast vs walking slowly). 

In this case, walking is unimpaired and the differences we see are subtle but they help us to understand how movement is controlled. We recently ran a study to consider coordination of adolescents with DCD on a novel task, the pedalo task.

Person on a pedalo

Current projects

A person sat at a desk with red and yellow pegs in a blue peg board

Anna is working with Pearson Clinical UK on new editions of the popular DASH, DASH17+ and Movement ABC-2 tools. Data collection has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is due to start later in 2021.

Anna is also working with colleagues to develop a new Writing Quality Scale (WQS) to be used in conjunction with the DASH17+ and her Handwriting Legibility Scale (HLS) to provide a comprehensive assessment of writing skill. Findings will be presented at the 12th British Dyslexia Association International Conference in May 2021.

Kate is working with colleagues at Cardiff University and the Bikeability Trust to assess cycle training in children with Special Educational Needs/disabilities.