Perceptual-motor abilities in pre-school preterm children,Early Hum Dev.
BACKGROUND: Several studies report a high percentage of premature infants presenting perceptual motor difficulties at school age. The new version of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children allows the assessment of perceptual-motor abilities in children from the age of 3years. AIMS: To evaluate early perceptual-motor abilities in prematurely born children below the age of 4years. STUDY DESIGN: The Movement Assessment Battery for Children 2nd edition was administered to 105 low-risk prematurely born children (<32weeks gestation) and in a control group of 105 term-born children matched for age and sex. All children were assessed between the age of 3years and 3years-11months. RESULTS: 63 children (60%) had total scores above the 15th percentile, 15 (14.3%) had scores between the 5th and the 15th percentile, and 13 (12.4%) below the 5th percentile. The remaining 14 children (13.3%) refused to perform or to complete the test. The difference between preterm and control group was significant for total scores, Manual Dexterity and Aiming and Catching scores. In the preterm group there was a correlation between age at testing, total scores and Aiming and Catching subscores. The Movement ABC-2 subscores were significantly lower in children born below 29weeks. CONCLUSION: Perceptual-motor difficulties can already be detected on the assessment performed before the age of 4years. Prematurely born children assessed between 3years and 3years-3months appeared to have more difficulties in performing the test than the older ones or their age matched term-born peers. These findings support the possibility of a delayed maturation in the younger age group.