Perceptual-motor deficits in children with Down syndrome: implications for intervention

Downs Syndr Res Pract. 2006 Jul;10(2):74-82. doi: 10.3104/reports.308.


Early intervention approaches for facilitating motor development in infants and children with Down syndrome have traditionally emphasised the acquisition of motor milestones. As increasing evidence suggests that motor milestones have limited predictive power for long-term motor outcomes, researchers have shifted their focus to understanding the underlying perceptual-motor competencies that influence motor behaviour in Down syndrome. This paper outlines a series of studies designed to evaluate the nature and extent of perceptual-motor impairments present in children with Down syndrome. 12 children with Down syndrome between the ages of 8-15 years with adaptive ages between 3-7 years (mean age = 5.6 years +/- 1.45 years) and a group of 12 typically developing children between the ages of 4-8 years (mean age = 5.4 +/- 1.31 years) were tested on their ability to make increasingly complex perceptual discriminations of motor behaviours. The results indicate that children with Down syndrome are able to make basic perceptual discriminations but show impairments in the perception of complex visual motion cues. The implications of these results for early intervention are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / therapy*
  • Perceptual Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Perceptual Disorders / therapy*
  • Photic Stimulation