Deficits in attention, motor control and perception (DAMP): a simplified school entry examination

Authors

  • M Landgren,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Skövde Central Hospital, Skövde, Sweden
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  • B Kjellman,

    1. Department of Paediatrics, Skövde Central Hospital, Skövde, Sweden
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  • C Gillberg

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Göteborg University, Annedals Clinics, Göteborg, Sweden
      Christopher Gillberg, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Göteborg University, Annedals Clinics, S-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden (Tel. +46 31 415745, fax. +46 31 415545)
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Christopher Gillberg, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Göteborg University, Annedals Clinics, S-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden (Tel. +46 31 415745, fax. +46 31 415545)

Abstract

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.

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