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Influences on Achieving Motor Milestones: A Twin–Singleton Study

  • Silvia I. Brouwer (a1), Toos C. E. M. van Beijsterveldt (a2), Meike Bartels (a3), James J. Hudziak (a4) and Dorret I. Boomsma (a5)...

Abstract

In order to determine if twinning impacted achievement of motor milestones the attainment of early motor milestones in twins was examined and compared to published data from singletons of the same age from the same culture and birth years. We examined the influence of twinning, sex, zygosity and birth cohort (1987–2001) on the motor development of twins aged 0 to 24 months. Data on the attainment of motor milestones (turn, sit, crawl, stand and walk) of twins were collected from maternal reports. All data were corrected for gestational age. Data from the twin sample were compared to normative data from singletons, which were available from Child Health Clinics (CHC). Analyses across twin data and the CHC singleton data revealed no differences between twins and singletons in achievement of motor milestones. Girls were able to sit without support slightly earlier than boys, otherwise there were no other sex differences. Birth-order analyses revealed minimal but significant differences in turning over from back to belly and for sitting without support between the first- and second-born. Dizygotic (DZ) twins were faster than monozygotic (MZ) twins in achieving the moment of sit, crawl, stand and walk. Twins born in earlier cohorts were faster in reaching the moment of crawl, sit and walk. It is concluded that there are no differences in time of reaching motor milestones between twins and singletons within the normal range. Sex has minimal to no effect on motor development in early childhood. DZ twins achieve motor milestones sooner than MZ twins. Attainment of gross motor milestones (crawl, stand and walk) is delayed in later birth cohorts.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: S. I. Brouwer, Vrije Universiteit, Department of Biological Psychology, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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