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The validity of parental reports on motor skills performance level in preschool children: a comparison with a standardized motor test


Zysset, Annina E; Kakebeeke, Tanja H; Messerli-Bürgy, Nadine; Meyer, Andrea H; Stülb, Kerstin; Leeger-Aschmann, Claudia S; Schmutz, Einat A; Arhab, Amar; Ferrazzini, Valentina; Kriemler, Susi; Munsch, Simone; Puder, Jardena J; Jenni, Oskar G (2018). The validity of parental reports on motor skills performance level in preschool children: a comparison with a standardized motor test. European Journal of Pediatrics, 177(5):715-722.

Abstract

Motor skills are interrelated with essential domains of childhood such as cognitive and social development. Thus, the evaluation of motor skills and the identification of atypical or delayed motor development is crucial in pediatric practice (e.g., during well-child visits). Parental reports on motor skills may serve as possible indicators to decide whether further assessment of a child is necessary or not. We compared parental reports on fundamental motor skills performance level (e.g., hopping, throwing), based on questions frequently asked in pediatric practice, with a standardized motor test in 389 children (46.5% girls/53.5% boys, M age = 3.8 years, SD = 0.5, range 3.0-5.0 years) from the Swiss Preschoolers' Health Study (SPLASHY). Motor skills were examined using the Zurich Neuromotor Assessment 3-5 (ZNA3-5), and parents filled in an online questionnaire on fundamental motor skills performance level. The results showed that the answers from the parental report correlated only weakly with the objectively assessed motor skills (r = .225, p < .001).

CONCLUSION

Although a parental screening instrument for motor skills would be desirable, the parent's report used in this study was not a valid indicator for children's fundamental motor skills. Thus, we may recommend to objectively examine motor skills in clinical practice and not to exclusively rely on parental report. What is Known: • Early assessment of motor skills in preschool children is important because motor skills are essential for the engagement in social activities and the development of cognitive abilities. Atypical or delayed motor development can be an indicator for different developmental needs or disorders. • Pediatricians frequently ask parents about the motor competences of their child during well-child visits. What is New: • The parental report on fundamental motor skills performance level used in this study was not a reliable indicator for describing motor development in the preschool age. • Standardized examinations of motor skills are required to validly assess motor development in preschoolers.

Abstract

Motor skills are interrelated with essential domains of childhood such as cognitive and social development. Thus, the evaluation of motor skills and the identification of atypical or delayed motor development is crucial in pediatric practice (e.g., during well-child visits). Parental reports on motor skills may serve as possible indicators to decide whether further assessment of a child is necessary or not. We compared parental reports on fundamental motor skills performance level (e.g., hopping, throwing), based on questions frequently asked in pediatric practice, with a standardized motor test in 389 children (46.5% girls/53.5% boys, M age = 3.8 years, SD = 0.5, range 3.0-5.0 years) from the Swiss Preschoolers' Health Study (SPLASHY). Motor skills were examined using the Zurich Neuromotor Assessment 3-5 (ZNA3-5), and parents filled in an online questionnaire on fundamental motor skills performance level. The results showed that the answers from the parental report correlated only weakly with the objectively assessed motor skills (r = .225, p < .001).

CONCLUSION

Although a parental screening instrument for motor skills would be desirable, the parent's report used in this study was not a valid indicator for children's fundamental motor skills. Thus, we may recommend to objectively examine motor skills in clinical practice and not to exclusively rely on parental report. What is Known: • Early assessment of motor skills in preschool children is important because motor skills are essential for the engagement in social activities and the development of cognitive abilities. Atypical or delayed motor development can be an indicator for different developmental needs or disorders. • Pediatricians frequently ask parents about the motor competences of their child during well-child visits. What is New: • The parental report on fundamental motor skills performance level used in this study was not a reliable indicator for describing motor development in the preschool age. • Standardized examinations of motor skills are required to validly assess motor development in preschoolers.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:May 2018
Deposited On:04 Jan 2019 14:39
Last Modified:31 Jan 2019 04:13
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-6199
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-017-3078-6
PubMed ID:29427041

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