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Fine motor skills and effects of methylphenidate in children with attention-deficit–hyperactivity disorder and developmental coordination disorder

  • Boudien CT Flapper (a1), Suzanne Houwen (a2) and Marina M Schoemaker (a2)

Abstract

The aims of this study were to investigate fine motor skills of children with both attention-deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and those of a control group, and to examine the effects of methylphenidate on these skills. A group of 12 children with ADHD–DCD (11 males, one female; mean age 9y 8mo [SD 1y 7mo]) and 12 age- and sex-matched controls (mean age 9y 7mo [SD 1y 2 mo]) participated. The manual dexterity subtests of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, the concise assessment method for children's handwriting, and a computerized graphomotor task were used. Results demonstrated that children with ADHD–DCD performed more poorly on the manual dexterity subtests, had poorer quality of handwriting, and drew more rapidly, more fluently, but less accurately than controls on the graphomotor task. On methylphenidate, manual dexterity and quality of handwriting improved, and strokes on the graphomotor task became less fluent but more accurate. ADHD is characterized by persistent symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, affecting 3 to 5% of school-age children. Up to 50% of children with ADHD also have motor coordination problems that are severe enough to meet criteria for DCD. In DCD, children demonstrate functional motor performance deficits not explained by the child's (chronological) age or intellect, or by other neurological or psychiatric disorders.

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Corresponding author

Department of Paediatrics, University Medical Centre Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands. E-mail: b.flapper@ bkk.umcg.nl

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Fine motor skills and effects of methylphenidate in children with attention-deficit–hyperactivity disorder and developmental coordination disorder

  • Boudien CT Flapper (a1), Suzanne Houwen (a2) and Marina M Schoemaker (a2)

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