Original article| Volume 41, ISSUE 6, P483-489, June 2019

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Is the motor skills checklist appropriate for assessing children in Japan?

  • Yosuke Kita
    Corresponding author at: Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP), 4-1-1 Ogawahigashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8553, Japan.
    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP), Tokyo, Japan
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  • Fumiko Ashizawa
    Day-care Service “Tsukushi”, Tokyo Kasei University, Sayama, Japan
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  • Masumi Inagaki
    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP), Tokyo, Japan
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      Motor skill screening tools are essential for the early detection of developmental coordination disorder (DCD). The present study aimed to examine any cultural and rater effects on these tools. This then enabled us to judge the validity of the original cut-off values for identifying diagnosable children.


      A community sample survey was performed in Japan; 3852 children aged 6–9 years were recruited. Both parents and teachers evaluated the motor skills of their children using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children – Second Edition Checklist. The psychometric properties were evaluated and the scoring characteristics examined based on the type of rater and country of origin, as compared to data originally sampled in the UK.


      High reliability and validity of the Japanese samples were confirmed. The Japanese adults evaluated their children’s motor skills more rigorously than the Europeans. Additionally, there was a large disagreement between parent and teacher rating scores; the degree of agreement varied depending on the severity of motor deficits in the child.


      The first findings from a Japanese sample suggest that the assessment of motor skills in children is significantly affected by culture and rater. These cultural characteristics and rater biases strongly suggest that new cut-off values, reflecting country and rater type, be introduced for identifying children at risk of DCD.


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