Influence of the home environment on the motor development of infants with Down syndrome

ABSTRACT Children with Down syndrome present impairments in neuro-psychomotor development, which are related to muscle tone, postural control and balance. Motor development is influenced by biological, psychological, social and environmental factors. Thus, the environment in which the infant is in can facilitate the neuro-psychomotor development. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of the home environment on the motor development of infants with Down syndrome. Sixteen infants with Down syndrome were divided into Group I (3 to 11 months of age) and Group II (12 to 18 months of age), evaluated by the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) and the Affordances in the Home Environment for Motor Development Infant-Scale (AHEMD-IS) questionnaire. Data analysis was performed using the Kruskall-Wallis test, Spearman’s correlation coefficient and the likelihood ratio test. The results showed a significant positive relationship between the gross AIMS score and the variety of stimuli (p=0.01, r=0.78) and with the AHEMD-IS questionnaire score (p=0.02, r=0.74) in Group 2. Family income and affordances with motor function toys (p=0.05, r=0.49) were also correlated, but the correlation was weak. The home environment plays an important role in the motor development of children with Down syndrome aged between 12 and 18 months, as it provides opportunities for experiencing and experimenting. Better suited environments provide better motor performance.