Background: Children with the neurogenetic disorder neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) often have problems with learning and behaviour. In both parent reports and neuropsychological assessment, motor problems are reported in approximately one third to one half of the children with NF1. Studies using broad motor performance test batteries with relatively large groups of children with NF1 are limited. The aim of this cross-sectional observational study was to describe the severity of motor problems in children with NF1 and to explore the predictive value of demographics, intelligence, and behavioural problems. Methods: From 2002 to 2014, 69 children with NF1, aged 4 to 16 years (age = 9.5 ± 2.8 years; 29 girls) had a motor, psychological, and neurological evaluation in an NF1 expertise centre. Data were collected about (1) motor performance (M-ABC: Movement Assessment Battery for Children), (2) intelligence, and (3) emotional and behavioural problems as rated by parents. Results: Sixty-one percent of these children scored within the clinical range of the M-ABC. In ordinal logistic regression analyses, motor problems were associated with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and externalising behavioural problems. Motor outcome was not predicted by age, intelligence, scoliosis, hypotonia, nor hypermobility. Conclusions: Motor problems are among the most common comorbid developmental problems in children with NF1, and these problems do not diminish with age. Because of their impact on daily functioning, motor problems need to be specifically addressed in diagnosis, follow-up, and treatment of NF1.

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Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology

Rietman, A., Oostenbrink, R., Bongers, S. (Sanne), Gaukema, E. (Eddy), Van Abeelen, S. (Sandra), Hendriksen, J. G. M., … de Wit, M. C. (2017). Motor problems in children with neurofibromatosis type 1. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 9(1). doi:10.1186/s11689-017-9198-5