Background Children who have needed neonatal intensive care (NIC) are considered to be at risk for deficits such as developmental co-ordination disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. By assessing motor-perceptual development, motor co-ordination and attention already at 3 years of age, it might be possible to identify such deficits earlier than they are today.
Aim To investigate the motor-perceptual development in a group of 202 NIC children but had no major impairments, to describe associations of deficits in co-ordination and attention with motor-perceptual delays, and to estimate the prevalence of NIC children with combined deficits together with a motor-perceptual delay.
Method Co-ordination and attention in children born very preterm (n = 57), moderately preterm (n = 75) and full-term (n = 70) were observed according to a model for Combined Assessment of Motor Performance and Behaviour while they were assessed using a developmental scale, Motor-Perceptual Development, 0-7 years, MPU. 1
Results In two out of 14 MPU areas, a larger proportion of very preterm than of moderately preterm and full-term children had marked developmental delay. Overall, the proportion of NIC children having a motor-perceptual delay increased with increasing incoordination and especially increasing lack of attention. Twenty-one (11 %) of the NIC children had different motor-perceptual delays combined with pronounced incoordination and pronounced lack of attention.
Conclusion Deficits in co-ordination and attention were associated with motor-perceptual delays in areas important for daily living and development of academic skills. Therefore,to find children at risk for developmental co-ordination disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, assessments of co-ordination and attention should be added to assessments of motor-perceptual development in 3-year-old NIC children.
2007. Vol. 33, no 1, 11-21 p.