Prevalence and cognitive profiles of children with comorbid literacy and motor disorders

Cameron Downing, Markéta Caravolas

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    13 Citations (Scopus)


    There is a high prevalence of comorbidity between neurodevelopmental disorders. Contemporary research of these comorbidities has led to the development of multifactorial theories of causation, including the multiple deficit model (MDM). While several combinations of disorders have been investigated, the nature of association between literacy and motor disorders remains poorly understood. Comorbid literacy and motor disorders were the focus of the two present studies. In Study 1, we examined the prevalence of comorbid literacy and motor difficulties relative to isolated literacy and motor difficulties in a community sample (N = 605). The prevalence of comorbidity was five times greater than expected by chance alone, implying some relationship between difficulties. In Study 2, we examined the cognitive profiles of children with literacy and motor disorders amongst a subsample of children from Study 1 (N = 153). Children with literacy disorder had deficits in phonological processing, selective attention, and memory whilst children with motor disorder had deficits in visuospatial processing and memory, suggesting the disorders should be considered to have both independent and shared (memory) cognitive risk factors. Children with comorbid literacy and motor disorder demonstrated an additive combination of these deficits. Together, these findings are consistent with predictions from the MDM.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number573580
    JournalFrontiers in Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020


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