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Executive functions in children with developmental coordination disorder: a 2-year follow-up study

Bernardi, Marialivia, Leonard, Hayley, Hill, Elisabeth L., Botting, Nicola and Henry, Lucy A. (2018) Executive functions in children with developmental coordination disorder: a 2-year follow-up study Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 60 (3). pp. 306-313.

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Executive function impairments have been identified in children with poor motor skills, with and without a diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder (DCD). However, most studies are cross-sectional. This study investigates the development of executive function in children with poor motor skills over 2 years.


Children aged 7 to 11 years (n=51) were assessed twice, 2 years apart, on verbal and nonverbal measures of executive functions: executive-loaded working memory (ELWM); fluency; response inhibition; planning; and cognitive flexibility. Typically developing children (n=17) were compared with those with a clinical diagnosis of DCD (n=17) and those with identified motor difficulties (n=17) but no formal diagnosis of DCD.


Developmental gains in executive function were similar between groups, although a gap between children with poor motor skills and typically developing children on nonverbal executive functions persisted. Specifically, children with DCD performed significantly more poorly than typically developing children on all nonverbal executive function tasks and verbal fluency tasks at both time points; and children with motor difficulties but no diagnosis of DCD showed persistent executive function problems in nonverbal tasks of ELWM and fluency.


Children with DCD and motor difficulties demonstrated executive function difficulties over 2 years, which may affect activities of daily living and academic achievement, in addition to their motor deficit.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Bernardi, Marialivia
Hill, Elisabeth L.
Botting, Nicola
Henry, Lucy A.
Date : 20 February 2018
DOI : 10.1111/dmcn.13640
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017 Mac Keith Press
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 07 Nov 2017 16:25
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2018 02:08

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