Vassiliki Riga, Anastasia Misirli, Akrivi Komessariou


Assessment of motor development in preschool children has become increasingly important with the recent acknowledgement that motor impairment/deficit is linked with cognitive, language, social, and emotional difficulties. As there is lack of evidence regarding motor development and early intervention in children with special education needs (SEN), the purpose of this study was to assess the motor development of preschool students with SEN within the educational context to allow their teachers to design appropriate physical education activities to improve students’ motor proficiency. In the present study, the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales – Second Edition test battery was used with five groups of students with different SEN: (a) Autism Spectrum Disorder, (b) Down syndrome, (c) cerebral palsy, (d) mental disability, and (e) specific learning difficulties. Students were grouped on the basis of specific characteristics, such as gender and SEN, and statistically significant differences between groups were sought. Differences in the difficulties encountered during the subtests by children in different SEN groups were found, suggesting that evidence of certain motor weaknesses are more likely for children with specific SEN. An unsatisfactory level in overall performance in gross, fine, and total motor quotients confirmed the delayed motor development of students with SEN. The paper concludes with recommendations for an appropriate evaluative measure and early intervention programmes for children with specific motor impairments.

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motor proficiency, gross and fine motor skills, early childhood, children with special education needs

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