Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Developmental coordination disorder in “apparently normal” schoolchildren born extremely preterm
  1. T-A Goyen1,2,
  2. K Lui2
  1. 1
    Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2
    School of Women’s and Children’s Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  1. Dr K Lui, Department of Newborn Care, Royal Hospital for Women, Barker Street, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia 2031; kei.lui{at}


Aims: To determine the prevalence of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) in “apparently normal” extremely premature (<29 weeks) or extremely low birthweight (<1000 g) schoolchildren at 8 years of age and whether motor skill assessments at an earlier age could predict DCD.

Method: From a neonatal intensive care unit cohort, 50 of the 53 eligible children (IQ >84 and without disabilities at age 5 and residing in Sydney metropolitan) and full-term classroom controls matched for gender and age were assessed with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC) at school. Previous Griffith’s Scales (1 and 3 years) and Peabody Motor Scales (3 and 5 years) results were evaluated for prediction.

Results: The prevalence of DCD (MABC impairment scores >1 SD below the norm) was significantly higher in the study group than controls (42% vs 8%, respectively), and severe DCD (scores >1.5 SD) was also significantly higher (30% vs 0%). DCD was independently associated with prolonged rupture of membranes and retinopathy of prematurity but not with parental education or occupation. Motor assessment using Peabody Fine Motor Scales at 3 years with a cut-off of <27th centile was the best predictor of DCD (areas under curve 78%).

Conclusions: Apparently normal high-risk infants are at risk of motor dysfunction into their school years. Most of these could be identified at age 3.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Obtained.

  • Patient consent: Obtained.