The crucial role of the predictability of motor response in visuomotor deficits in very preterm children at school age

Jorrit F De Kieviet, Cor J J Stoof, Christiaan J A Geldof, Niels Smits, Jan P Piek, Harrie N Lafeber, Ruurd M Van Elburg, Jaap Oosterlaan

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AIM: We aimed to clarify the underpinnings of widespread visuomotor deficits in very preterm children.

METHOD: Fifty-eight very preterm children (26 males, 32 females; mean [SD] age 7 y 6 mo [5 mo], gestational age 29.2 wks [1.6]; birthweight 1237 g [336]), recruited from a tertiary level neonatal intensive care unit, and 64 age-matched, comparison children born at term (28 males, 36 females; mean age [SD] 7 y 8 mo [7 mo]) participated. IQ was measured using a short form of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (3rd edition). A research diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) was defined as a score below the 15th centile on the Movement Assessment Battery for Children. Visuomotor performance was assessed using a computerized task, in which children followed a predictable (structured condition) or an unpredictable (non-structured condition) trail on a touch screen using their index finger.

RESULTS: Forty-six per cent of the very preterm children had a research diagnosis of DCD, compared with 16% of children born at term (p<0.001, odds ratio 4.69 [95% CI 2.01-10.99]). No group difference in visuomotor performance was present for the structured condition. In the non-structured condition, children born very preterm with and without a research diagnosis of DCD had poorer visuomotor performance than those born at term.

INTERPRETATION: The predictability of the required motor response plays a crucial role in visuomotor deficits in very preterm children, regardless of DCD status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-630
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comparative Study
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Journal Article
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Wechsler Scales

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