Assessment of motor functioning in the preschool period

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The assessment of motor functioning in young children has become increasingly important in recent years with the acknowledgement that motor impairment is linked with cognitive, language, social and emotional difficulties. However, there is no one gold standard assessment tool to investigate motor ability in children. The aim of the current paper was to discuss the issues related to the assessment of motor ability in young pre-school children and to provide guidelines on the best approach for motor assessment. The paper discusses the maturational changes in brain development at the preschool level in relation to motor ability. Other issues include sex differences in motor ability at this young age, and evidence for this in relation to sociological versus biological influences. From the previous literature it is unclear what needs to be assessed in relation to motor functioning. Should the focus be underlying motor processes or movement skill assessment? Several key assessment tools are discussed that produce a general measure of motor performance followed by a description of tools that assess specific skills, such as fine and gross motor, ball and graphomotor skills. The paper concludes with recommendations on the best approach in assessing motor function in pre-school children.


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The Author:

Professor Beth Hands