Movement-based interventions for preschool-age children with, or at risk of, motor impairment: a systematic review

Kate L. Cameron, Reem A. Albesher, Jennifer L. McGinley, Kim Allison, Jeanie L.Y. Cheong, Alicia J. Spittle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aim: To explore the efficacy of movement-based interventions to improve motor skills in preschool-age children with, or at risk of, motor impairment, including those with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, and developmental coordination disorder. Method: Relevant electronic databases were searched for randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trials. Outcomes were classified using domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Children & Youth version. Quality was assessed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Effect sizes were calculated using Cohen’s d. Results: Seventeen articles exploring a heterogeneity of intervention types, population groups, and outcome measures met the inclusion criteria. Movement-based interventions did not significantly improve outcomes in either the body structure and function or activity domains in most studies. No studies used a participation outcome measure. Interpretation: There is a paucity of evidence exploring movement-based interventions in the preschool-age group. Although movement-based interventions showed potential for improving body structure and function and activity outcomes for children with motor impairment, results were mostly not significant. Small sample sizes, variable study quality, and risk of bias limit confidence in the results. What this paper adds: The evidence is inconclusive to support movement-based interventions in this group. No studies used outcome measures assessing participation. Variability in intervention type and study quality limit confidence in results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


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