Objective: To suggest an empirically based school entry screening examination for the detection of deficits in attention, motor control and perception (DAMP) in 6-y-old children. Material and methods: A population-based cohort of 113 children, 6-7 y of age (62 with and 51 without DAMP), compared on measures of attention, motor functions, language and cognition. Results: Attention deficits were convincingly identified by both parents and paediatrician. The motor function tests clearly distinguished between the two groups. Linguistic and meta-linguistic tests demonstrated greater phonological processing difficulties in the DAMP group. The cognitive test revealed an overall lower IQ but no consistent characteristic pattern in the DAMP group.
Conclusions: A simplified paediatric school entry examination test is suggested. Four motor tests (standing on one foot, Fog test, design copying and diadochokinesis) administered by the paediatrician, combined with a brief structured clinical observation and a structured parent interview, identified 80% of children with DAMP–and all those with severe DAMP–as well as a small number of false positives.