Arch Dis Child 88:904-910 doi:10.1136/adc.88.10.904
  • Community child health, public health, and epidemiology

Deficits in attention, motor control, and perception: a brief review

  1. C Gillberg
  1. Correspondence to:
    Prof. C Gillberg, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Göteborg Unviersity, Kungsgatan 12, 411 19 Göteborg, Sweden;
  • Accepted 18 February 2003


The concept of DAMP (deficits in attention, motor control, and perception) has been in clinical use in Scandinavia for about 20 years. DAMP is diagnosed on the basis of concomitant attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and developmental coordination disorder in children who do not have severe learning disability or cerebral palsy. In clinically severe form it affects about 1.5% of the general population of school age children; another few per cent are affected by more moderate variants. Boys are overrepresented; girls are currently probably underdiagnosed. There are many comorbid problems/overlapping conditions, including conduct disorder, depression/anxiety, and academic failure. There is a strong link with autism spectrum disorders in severe DAMP. Familial factors and pre- and perinatal risk factors account for much of the variance. Psychosocial risk factors appear to increase the risk of marked psychiatric abnormality in DAMP. Outcome in early adult age was psychosocially poor in one study in almost 60% of unmedicated cases. There are effective interventions available for many of the problems encountered in DAMP.


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