The relationship between gross motor skills and academic achievement in children with learning disabilities

Res Dev Disabil. Nov-Dec 2011;32(6):2773-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.05.032. Epub 2011 Jun 22.


The present study compared the gross motor skills of 7- to 12-year-old children with learning disabilities (n = 104) with those of age-matched typically developing children (n = 104) using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2. Additionally, the specific relationships between subsets of gross motor skills and academic performance in reading, spelling, and mathematics were examined in children with learning disabilities. As expected, the children with learning disabilities scored poorer on both the locomotor and object-control subtests than their typically developing peers. Furthermore, in children with learning disabilities a specific relationship was observed between reading and locomotor skills and a trend was found for a relationship between mathematics and object-control skills: the larger children's learning lag, the poorer their motor skill scores. This study stresses the importance of specific interventions facilitating both motor and academic abilities.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / complications
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / complications*
  • Learning Disabilities / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Mathematics / education
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / complications*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reading