African infant precocity - Fact or fallacy? - A review

Irwin-Carruthers S.H. (1987)

Although many of the early studies of motor development in black African infants were poorly designed, the majority appear to be support a degree of advanced motor behaviour in black infants, particularly within the first year. There is still a need for a longitudinal study of black and white samples matched for socio-economic factors. Such a study should include evaluation in the newborn period in order to investigate possible ethnic characteristics related to postural tone, spontaneous movement, alertness and other factors. Since the latest study shows that not only black, but also white South African infants achieved the majority of the gross motor and fine motor-adaptive items on the Denver Development Screening Test. (DDST) at notably earlier ages than the Denver norms, this should be taken into account when assessing South African infants. Use of the DDST without adaptation could result in under-referral of children requiring intervention, particularly when assessing black infants within the first year of life.

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