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A quick and qualitative assessment of gross motor development in preschool children

  • Tanja H. KakebeekeEmail author
  • Aziz Chaouch
  • Elisa Knaier
  • Jon Caflisch
  • Valentin Rousson
  • Remo H. Largo
  • Oskar G. Jenni
Original Article

Abstract

There is a need for a quick, qualitative, reliable, and easy tool to assess gross motor development for practitioners. The aim of this cross-sectional study is to present the Zurich Neuromotor Assessment-Q (ZNA-Q), which assesses static and dynamic balance in children between 3 and 6 years of age in less than 5 min. A total of 216 children (103 boys; 113 girls; median age 4 years, 4 months; interquartile range 1 year, 3 months) were enrolled from day-care centers, kindergartens, and schools, and were tested with 5 different gross motor tasks: standing on one leg, tandem stance, hopping on one leg, walking on a straight line, and jumping sideways. All ordinal measures (consisting of qualitative measures and scales) featured a marked developmental trend and substantial inter-individual variability. Test-retest reliability was assessed on 37 children. It varied from .17 for tandem stance to .43 for jumping sideways for the individual tasks, and it was .41 and .67 for the static and dynamic balance components, respectively. For the whole ZNA-Q, test-retest reliability was .7.

Conclusion: Ordinal scales enable practitioners to gather data on children’s gross motor development in a fast and uncomplicated way. It offers the practitioner with an instrument for the exploration of the current developmental motor status of the child.

What is Known:

Measurement of gross motor skills in the transitional period between motor mile stones and quantitative assessments is difficult.

Assessment of gross motor skills is relatively easy.

What is New:

Supplementary and quick gross motor test battery for children for practitioners.

Normative values of five gross motor skills measured with ordinal scales.

Keywords

Zurich Neuromotor assessment Quick and qualitative version Gross motor skills 

Abbreviations

CAMs

Contralateral associated movements

DB

Dynamic balance

FM

Fine motor

PM

Pure motor

PMDA

Poor man’s data augmentation

SDS

Standard deviation score

SB

Static balance

ZNA

Zurich Neuromotor Assessment

ZNA-2

Zurich Neuromotor Assessment second edition

Notes

Acknowledgments

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the presidents’ conference of the public schools in Zurich and the educators and teachers of the child care centers and Kindergartens for their help with recruitment.

Authors’ contributions

THK: Designed the study, acquired funding, performed data collection, coded and analyzed the corresponding data, and wrote the manuscript

AC: Performed statistical analysis and modeling

EK: Performed data collection and coded the corresponding data

JC: Performed data collection and corrected the manuscript

VR: Assisted in statistical data analysis

RHL: Contributed to the draft and gave advice on the assessment tools

OGJ: Designed the study, acquired funding, corrected final draft of the manuscript

All authors reviewed and edited the manuscript

Funding

This study was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, grant no. 32003B_153273, the Largo, Maiores and Giedion Risch Foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Parents provided written informed consent for their participating child and children consented orally.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja H. Kakebeeke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aziz Chaouch
    • 2
  • Elisa Knaier
    • 1
  • Jon Caflisch
    • 1
  • Valentin Rousson
    • 2
  • Remo H. Largo
    • 1
  • Oskar G. Jenni
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Child Development CenterUniversity Children’s Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Division of BiostatisticsInstitute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University HospitalLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Children’s Research CenterUniversity Children’s Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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