Motor Development in Children with Down Syndrome: A Review of the Literature

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Martin E. Block Northern Illinois University

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The effects of Down syndrome (DS) on motor development have been widely reported over the years, particularly with the profusion of research in the past 10 years. Although more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between DS and motor development, there is a need to synthesize the current findings. Henderson (1985, 1986) and Reid (1985) reviewed the literature regarding the motor development of children with DS. While Henderson’s review was extremely well done, certain recent studies can add to our understanding of the motor characteristics of these children. Furthermore, Henderson did not examine factors such as cardiac, anatomical, and sensory deficits that can affect motor development. Therefore this paper reviews the extant literature regarding the motor development of children with DS in terms of health and medical conditions that can affect this development as well as the motor development of infants and all others with DS. Finally, implications for future research and programming are discussed.

Request reprints from Martin E. Block, Department of Physical Education, Anderson Hall, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115-2854.

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