Visual-motor, visual-perceptual, and fine motor outcomes in very-low-birthweight children at 5 years

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1998 Feb;40(2):76-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1998.tb15365.x.


The prevalence and severity of visual-motor deficits and the relation of visual-motor function to visual perception and fine motor skills was examined in a group of 83 neurologically and intellectually normal (IQ >84) very-low-birthweight (VLBW) children at age 5. Fifteen children (17%) had below average visual motor scores (<1SD below mean). While relatively few children (N=9) had below average scores in visual perception (11%), 58 (71%) had below average scores for fine motor skills. Nineteen (23%) were considered impaired (<1.5SD); of these, eight were severely impaired (<2SD). Fine motor scores were significantly lower in children who had been born <28 weeks' gestation, with hyaline membrane disease, or had required a longer period of ventilation. There was significant correlation between visual-motor and fine motor scores (r = 0.50, P < 0.001) and between visual-motor and visual perception scores (r = 0.42, P < 0.001). The implications of these findings and management of these 'normal' children need further research. Previous reports of visual-motor dysfunction in school-age VLBW children could be related to fine motor difficulties.

MeSH terms

  • Apgar Score
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intelligence
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders / complications
  • Motor Skills Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / epidemiology
  • Perceptual Disorders / complications
  • Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Perceptual Disorders / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Class
  • Visual Perception*