Aim of our study was to describe the character of General Movements (GMs) in children with Down Syndrome (DS). GMs of 23 children with DS and of 30 healthy full-term infants were assessed from birth to 6th month corrected age. A qualitative and a semi-quantitative evaluation of GMs were achieved for each child. Data were graphically displayed to obtain growth curves of motor optimality scores. GMs in children with DS are characterised by low-low/moderate speed, large-large/moderate amplitude, partially creating impression of fluency, smoothness and complexity, abrupt beginning and end, few other concurrent gross movements. During the 6 months, all children showed an improvement of qualitative and semi-quantitative evaluation, but it was possible to observe great heterogeneity among children in the evolutionary course. GMs evaluation of children with no known motor problems was normal, showing only slight and transient abnormalities at first months. GMs character of children with DS could be related to central nervous system and peripheral abnormalities characterizing this syndrome. The evaluation of GMs in children with DS could be an early marker of motor impairment and help in early management decisions making.
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