Effects of early physical therapy on motor development in children with Down syndrome

North Clin Istanb. 2022 Apr 18;9(2):156-161. doi: 10.14744/nci.2020.90001. eCollection 2022.


Objective: The objective of the study was to compare the motor development of children with Down syndrome (DS) who received physical therapy (PT) and did not receive PT, and to show the effect of PT programs started before the age of one on movement development.

Methods: The study included aged between 6 and 42 months, 58 children with DS. Children with DS were divided into two groups as receiving PT and non-receiving PT. Children with DS who received PT were further divided into two groups according to the age of starting PT as before and after 1 year of age. Gross motor and fine motor development of the cases were evaluated with Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development III.

Results: Gross motor scaled scores (GM-SS: 3.88±3.46-1.67±1.23), fine motor scaled scores (FM-SS: 4.29±3.24-1.79±0.93), and composite scores (64.4±19.5-50.38±5.38) of PT group were statistically higher than the non-PT group (p<0.05). In addition, GM-SS (5.22±4.23-2.38±1.20), FM-SS; (5.61±3.85-2.81±1.37), and composite scores (72.33±23.85-55.56±5.7) of the cases who started PT before the age of one were statistically higher than those who started after the age of one (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Our results revealed that PT especially when started early childhood under had a positive effect on the development of gross and fine motor in children with DS and provided a scientific basis for referring children with DS to PT programs before the age of one. Clinicians should recommend PT for children with DS in the early period.

Keywords: Bayley III; Down syndrome; early physical therapy.