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Educational progress, behaviour, and motor skills at 10 years in early treated congenital hypothyroidism
  1. Wendy F Simonsa,
  2. Peter W Fuggleb,
  3. David B Granta,
  4. Isabel Smitha
  1. aInstitute of Child Health, London, bDepartment of Clinical Psychology, University College, London
  1. Dr David B Grant, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH.


AIM To assess educational attainments, behaviour, and motor skills at 10 years of age in a group of children with congenital hypothyroidism identified by neonatal screening.

SUBJECTS 59 children with congenital hypothyroidism born in 1978–81, 31 cases with pretreatment thyroxine (T4) values of 40 nmol/l or below (group I) and 28 less severe cases with T4 values over 40 nmol/l (group II), together with 59 classroom control children matched for age, sex, social class, and main language spoken at home.

METHODS The Neale analysis of reading ability; the child health and education study written test of mathematics; Rutter behaviour questionnaires for parents and teachers; the Oseretsky test of motor proficiency (short form).

RESULTS On all measures the congenital hypothyroidism children in group I had less satisfactory scores for educational attainments, behaviour, and motor skills than those in group II and controls. For reading the differences were small and did not reach statistical significance, but the deficits in mathematics and total motor skills were statistically significant (p < 0.01). There were more striking and statistically significant differences in behaviour scores, particularly with respect to attentional difficulties. Although less striking, these were also apparent in the group II children with mild hypothyroidism.

CONCLUSIONS At the age of 10 years severe congenital hypothyroidism is associated with some mild impairment in educational and motor attainments. Behaviour problems are also common, even in some children with less severe congenital hypothyroidism.

  • congenital hypothyroidism
  • educational progress
  • motor skills
  • behaviour
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