Perceptual-motor abilities in pre-school preterm children

Paola De Rose, Emilio Albamonte, Valentina Laganà, Serena Sivo, Silvia Pisoni, Francesca Gallini, Francesca Serrao, Francesca Tinelli, Giulia Purpura, Alessandra Ometto, Annalisa Sacco, Michela Quintiliani, Valentina De Clemente, Alessandra Graziano, Domenico M. Romeo, Simona Frezza, Patrizia Papacci, Fabio Mosca, Stefano Vicari, Luca A. RamenghiGiovanni Cioni, Costantino Romagnoli, Eugenio Mercuri, Daniela Ricci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Several studies report a high percentage of premature infants presenting perceptual motor difficulties at school age. The new version of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children allows the assessment of perceptual-motor abilities in children from the age of 3. years. Aims: To evaluate early perceptual-motor abilities in prematurely born children below the age of 4. years. Study design: The Movement Assessment Battery for Children 2nd edition was administered to 105 low-risk prematurely born children (<32 weeks gestation) and in a control group of 105 term-born children matched for age and sex. All children were assessed between the age of 3. years and 3. years-11. months. Results: 63 children (60%) had total scores above the 15th percentile, 15 (14.3%) had scores between the 5th and the 15th percentile, and 13 (12.4%) below the 5th percentile. The remaining 14 children (13.3%) refused to perform or to complete the test. The difference between preterm and control group was significant for total scores, Manual Dexterity and Aiming and Catching scores. In the preterm group there was a correlation between age at testing, total scores and Aiming and Catching subscores. The Movement ABC-2 subscores were significantly lower in children born below 29. weeks. Conclusion: Perceptual-motor difficulties can already be detected on the assessment performed before the age of 4. years. Prematurely born children assessed between 3. years and 3. years-3. months appeared to have more difficulties in performing the test than the older ones or their age matched term-born peers. These findings support the possibility of a delayed maturation in the younger age group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-814
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • Outcome
  • Perceptual-motor
  • Preterm infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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