In 2016, 29% of pedestrians killed or seriously injured on the roads in Great Britain were under 15 years of age. Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), a chronic disorder affecting the acquisition and execution of motor skills, may be more vulnerable at the roadside than typically developing (TD) children. Current methods used to teach road safety are typically knowledge-based and do not necessarily improve behaviour in real traffic situations. Virtual reality road crossing tasks may be a viable alternative. The present study aimed to test the road crossing accuracy of children with and without DCD in virtual reality tasks that varied the viewpoint to simulate the teaching methods currently in road safety educational programmes. Twenty-one children with DCD and twenty-one age and gender matched TD peers were required to locate the safest road crossing sites in two conditions: allocentric (aerial viewpoint) and egocentric (first-person viewpoint). All children completed both conditions and were required to navigate either themselves or an avatar across the road using the safest crossing route. The primary outcome was accuracy defined as the number of trials, out of 10, on which the child successfully identified and used the safest crossing route. Children with DCD performed equally poorly in both conditions, while TD children were significantly more accurate in the egocentric condition. This difference cannot be explained by self-reported prior road crossing education, practice or confidence. While TD children may benefit from the development of an egocentric virtual reality road crossing task, multimodal methods may be needed to effectively teach road safety to children with DCD.
- Developmental Co-ordination disorder
- Road safety education
- Virtual reality