Neuromotor development from 5 to 18 years. Part 1: timed performance

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2001 Jul;43(7):436-43. doi: 10.1017/s0012162201000810.


Timed performance in specific motor tasks is an essential component of a neurological examination applied to children with motor dysfunctions. This article provides centile curves describing normal developmental course and interindividual variation of timed performances of non-disabled children from 5 to 18 years. In a cross-sectional study (n=662) the following motor tasks were investigated: repetitive finger movements, hand and foot movements, alternating hand and foot movements, sequential finger movements, pegboard, and dynamic and static balance. Intraobserver, interobserver, and test-retest reliability for timed measurements were moderate to high. Timed performances improved throughout the entire prepubertal period, but differed among various motor tasks with respect to increase in speed and when the 'adolescent plateau' was reached. Centile curves of timed performance displayed large interindividual variation for all motor tasks. At no age were clinically relevant sex differences noted, nor did socioeconomic status significantly correlate with timed performance. Our results demonstrate that timed motor performances between 5 and 18 years are characterized by a long-lasting developmental change and a large interindividual variation. Therefore, a well standardized test instrument, and age-specific standards for motor performances are necessary preconditions for a reliable assessment of motor competence in school-age children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disabled Children / classification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Reference Values