Developmental coordination disorder at 8 years of age in a regional cohort of extremely-low-birthweight or very preterm infants


* Correspondence to last author at Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Royal Women's Hospital, 132 Grattan Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia. E-mail:


The aims of this study were to determine the motor outcome of extremely-low-birthweight (ELBW; <1000g) or very preterm (<28wks) children compared with normal birthweight (NBW) children, to establish the perinatal associations of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and its cognitive and behavioural consequences. Participants were consecutive surviving ELBW or very preterm children and randomly selected NBW(>2499g) children born in the state of Victoria, Australia, in 1991 or 1992. Main outcomes were: (1) results of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC) at 8 years of age; (2) cognitive function; (3) academic progress; and (4) behaviour. Of 298 consecutive ELBW/very preterm survivors, 255 (85.6%; 117 males, 138 females) had the MABC at a mean age of 8 years 8 months. More ELBW/very preterm children (9.5%) had DCD than the NBW group (2%, p=0.001). Only male sex increased the likelihood of DCD in ELBW/very preterm children (p=0.017). ELBW/very preterm children with DCD had worse cognitive function and academic test scores (up to 1SD below those without DCD); they also had more adaptive behaviour and externalizing problems, but not internalizing problems. DCD is more common in ELBW/very preterm children, has few perinatal correlates, and is associated with poor cognitive and academic performance as well as increased behaviour problems.