2Health Sciences University Van Training and Research Hospital, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Van, Turkiye
Objective: This study aimed to compare the motor skills of children with specific learning disorders (SLD) with those of typically developing children, controlling for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Second, we aimed to examine the relationship between motor skills and children’s academic achievement.
Method: The sample consisted of 57 children with SLD (63.2% males, mean age=9.52±0.94), and 30 children as a control group (66.7% males, mean age=9.68±1.08). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised, Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children-Present and Lifetime Version, Purdue Pegboard Test (PPT), Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire (DCDQ’07), and Swanson, Nolan and Pelham Scale-IV (SNAP-IV) were used.
Results: Of children with SLD, 87.7% had any comorbid psychiatric disorder, mainly ADHD (78.9%). The SLD group had lower scores on both the DCDQ’07 total score and all subtests, but the statistical difference remained only in the DCDQ’07 total score and Fine Motor and Handwriting (FMHW) subtest after controlling for the SNAP-IV scores. Children with SLD scored lower than the control group on the nondominant hemisphere and assembly subtests of PPT, and significant differences remained after controlling for SNAP-IV scores. Academic achievement and motor skills were not correlated in the SLD and control groups, but the FMHW subtest showed the strongest correlation (r=0.618, p<0.001) with the grade point average in the entire sample. SNAP-IV total score and having an SLD diagnosis were predictive of the DCDQ’07 total score according to regression analysis.
Conclusion: Many children with SLD suffer from motor skill problems, and comorbid ADHD symptoms contribute significantly to them.