ARLINGTON — When the clock struck midnight Wednesday Priscila Caçola was out of time.Caçola’s dream was to raise $2,765 to continue her research with children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). The assistant kinesiology professor at the University of Texas at Arlington had three months to raise 100 percent of her goal through Microryza, a crowd-funding platform for researchers.On Thursday she found out she had raised $3,035, enough to cover the spring semester of her “ Little Mavs Movement Academy,” and partially fund the fall 2014 semester. Children with DCD learn social and motor skills targeted for their age and ability at Caçola’s Little Mavs Movement Academy. The disorder affects as many as 5 million children in the United States, and used to be called “Clumsy Child Syndrome.” DCD can cause behavioral problems and lack of self-esteem in children. Fine and gross motor skills are extremely difficult for these children, who are often very intelligent, Caçola said. Caçola was able to purchase a $300 specialized bicycle with three wheels, a chairlike seat and side hand grips to help children with balance and coordination problems. A majority of her participants had never ridden a bike until this fall. “The first day they rode they were so excited,” she said. “It was their first time riding a bike, and their parents were crying.”Another person stepped in and donated a second bike. Caçola is also director of the Developmental Motor Cognition Lab at UTA, and is the only DCD researcher in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She will use Microryza funds to hire someone to help oversee the entire program — help with lesson plans for children and follow their progress. She currently relies on volunteers and her “Little Mavs manager” Michael Romero, a former volunteer.Caçola will need $2,400 to continue her program next fall. This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792 Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST