09 September 2021

It's Research Thursday! 

We know that gross motor skill development is important for health and development in the early years and that poor gross motor skill competency among children is a growing concern.  Additionally motor development is one of the key domains of early learning and development together with cognitive and social-emotional development. This study reports the prevalence rates of gross motor delays in pre-school aged children in low-income communities in Australia, with a high proportion of Australian Aboriginal children.

In this research by Veldman and colleagues from Early Start at The University of Wollongong, they found that 13% of children were not on track developmentally for gross motor skills. Children in low-income communities, particularly boys, and underweight and overweight children have a higher chance of being at risk of gross motor delay.

What does this mean?

It means that if we can screen young children for gross motor delay in socially disadvantaged communities then early interventions can be put in place that will help improve children’s wellbeing and development.

Take-home message: 

It is important to screen for gross motor skill development in young children in areas of disadvantage. If you work in an early childhood service or primary school in an area of disadvantage you can use tools such as the KIDDO Challenge to identify children who need additional assistance with their gross motor skill development.  

Veldman, S.L., Jones, R.A., Chandler, P., Robinson, L.E. and Okely, A.D., 2020. Prevalence and risk factors of gross motor delay in pre‐schoolers. Journal of paediatrics and child health, 56(4), pp.571-576.