TEDxToronto 2016 Speaker Spotlight: Helene Polatajko on Performance & Cognition

Dr. Helene Polatajko, a professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, has worked extensively with children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder. Her primary research interest is what happens in the brain when individuals experience problems with motor-based performance – and the role that cognition can play in making immobile people mobile.

She will be presenting her talk at this year’s TEDxToronto 2016 on October 27 at Koerner Hall, Telus Centre for Performance and Learning.

SDTC: What exactly is Developmental Co-ordination Disorder?

HP: It is a developmental condition that makes it difficult for children to learn and perform the everyday tasks of childhood – like writing their name, catching a ball etc.

What have you uncovered in your research that has surprised you?

That DCD is a motor learning problem as opposed to a co-ordination problem and with the right approach they can learn to perform skills as well as any other child. From this work came the basis of my TED talk.

What are you aiming to do with your current research?

I am aiming to uncover the principles of motor learning as they apply to folks with neuro-motor deficits. Most especially, how to promote generalization/transfer and self-regulation.

What can we look forward to in your TEDxToronto talk?

To hear some specifics about how each of us might meet performance goals that have eluded us!

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