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Motor Abilities and the Motor Profile in Individuals with Williams Syndrome

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Mayall, Leighanne A.  ORCID logo
D’Souza, Hana 
Hill, Elisabeth L. 
Karmiloff-Smith, Annette 
Tolmie, Andrew 


Abstract: Objectives: Motor difficulties are present across a range of neurodevelopmental disorders, impacting on the development of other domains and on overall quality of life. One population that shows difficulties with their motor abilities is composed of individuals with Williams syndrome (WS). The purposes of the current study were to investigate the motor profile of individuals with WS and to investigate the relationships between physical activity and motor performance in this group. Methods: The motor performance of 36 individuals with WS was measured using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, second edition (BOT2-SF) short form. Physical activity was also measured using our novel questionnaire. Performance on both measures was compared with that of typically developing (TD) children aged 4 to 7 years (N = 40). Results: Results indicate that the individuals with WS (aged 12 to 50 years) performed at the level of TD 4- to 5-year olds with respect to overall motor ability. On examination of the motor profile, a relative strength in upper limb control and a relative weakness in balance were identified for this group. While a correlation was found between motor ability and the amount of physical activity that participants engaged in on a weekly basis in the TD group, no such relationship was found in the WS group. Conclusions: The motor problems that individuals with WS show in childhood persist into older childhood and adulthood, and akin to the WS cognitive profile, there are relative strengths and weaknesses in the WS motor profile. The lack of correlation between physical activity and motor ability in the WS group may be due to the lack of opportunity to access age- and ability-appropriate activities.


Funder: Economic and Social Research Council; doi:

Funder: Williams Syndrome Foundation; doi:


Original Paper, Williams syndrome, Motor, Physical activity, Neurodevelopmental disorders, Learning difficulties

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Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

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Springer International Publishing
Waterloo Foundation (FPS 596)