A systematic review on effects of physical activity interventions on early motor development in children with down syndrome

  • Oswell Khondowe
  • Johan Simons
  • Cheryl Nikodem



The main aim  of this  review was to evaluate the effect of physical activity on motor development in children with  Down

Syndrome by means of a systematic review.


An extensive literature search of published studies in English from 1980 to May 2006 was performed. Of the fifty-eight studies identified only four met the inclusion criteria. This review included studies that investigated the effects of physical activity on motor development in children with Down Syndrome and evaluated the outcomes in terms of the levelof activity.


One study showed a significant decrease in length oftime to independent wa lking in the intervention group (CI-101[-180.48--21.52].  Two studies (N=84) reported a significant improvement in the total developmental quotient following intensive physical activity (wmd and Cl 95% -13.07 [-17.66, -8.48]. Three studies showed an increased in locomotor developmental skills following  physical activity intervention.


The results of this review support the use of programmes that are designed to improve motor development in children with Down Syndrome.

We recommend that physical activity programmes need to be intensive and parents should be incorporated to strengthen the outcomes.


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