Young children with developmental disabilities experience known deficits in salient child behaviors, such as social behaviors, communication, and aspects of daily living, behaviors that generally improve with chronological age. The purpose of this study was to examine the mediating effects of motor skills on relations of age and salient child behaviors in a group of young children with developmental disabilities, thus tapping into the potential influences of motor skills in the development of salient child behaviors. One hundred thirteen young children with developmental disabilities participated in this study. Independent mediation analysis, with gender as a moderator between the mediating and outcome variable, indicated that motor skills meditated relations between age and socialization, communication, and daily living skills in young male children with developmental disabilities, but not female participants. Findings suggest motor skill content needs to be considered in combination with other child behaviors commonly focused on in early intervention.
MacDonald and Ross are with the College of Public Health & Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. McIntyre is with Special Education & Clinical Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. Tepfer is with Health & Human Performance, Norwich University, Northfield, VT.