One of the more consistent findings in follow-up studies of preterm children is a deficit in visuospatial and visuomotor skills. Impairment of the dorsal visual stream and basal ganglia damage have been hypothesized to underlie this deficit. However, given recent findings of impaired cerebellar development in preterm children without lesions to this structure, and the involvement of the cerebellum in visuospatial and visuomotor functioning, we argue the cerebellum should be included in models relating impaired development of brain networks to visuospatial and visuomotor deficits in this population. Here, we review the current literature on impaired cerebellar development in preterm children, and suggest possible underlying mechanisms.
© The Authors. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology © 2013 Mac Keith Press.