Gross motor proficiency and intellectual functioning: A comparison among children with Down syndrome, children with borderline intellectual functioning, and typically developing children

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Abstract

This cross-sectional study examines differences in gross motor proficiency as a function of different intellectual functioning profiles. Two motor areas have been investigated as being equally essential to gross motor functions in every-day life: locomotion and object control.

It aims to compare gross motor skills endorsed by children with Down syndrome (DS), children with borderline intellectual functioning (BIF), and typically developing children (TDC).

Group 1 was composed of 18 children with DS (chronological age = 8.22), group 2 was composed of 18 children with BIF (chronological age = 9.32), and group 3 was composed of 18 children with typical development (TD) (chronological age = 9.28).

Gross motor skills were measured through the test of gross motor development (TGMD-Test) composed of locomotion and object control tasks.

Children with DS showed worse gross motor skills compared with children with BIF and typically developing children by underscoring both on all locomotion (e.g., walking, running, hopping, galloping, jumping, sliding, and leaping) and all object control tasks (e.g., throwing, catching, striking, bouncing, kicking, pulling, and pushing).

In DS group strengths were found on run and slide skills, in BIF group strengths were on run, long jump and slide skills and in TDC group strengths were on run and slide skills. For all of the 3 groups the locomotor worst performed task was jump forward with arm swing.

Findings suggest implications for further practice to develop evidence-based exercise programs aimed to rehabilitate gross motor skills through the regular participation in structured exercise activities.

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