|dc.description.abstract||Various research sources indicate that effective sensory functioning is critical to the optimal
development of a child. However, the influence of problems that are associated with poor
socio-economic circumstances, as well as the differences between the genders and groups
from different socio-economic backgrounds with regard to sensory functioning and motor
development, is not clear.
The aim of this study was to determine the possible significant relationship between problems
that are associated with poor socio-economic circumstances and the sensory development of
five to six year old children from these backgrounds. The study also attempted to compare
the sensory development of five to six year old children from poor socio-economic
backgrounds on the one side and those from good socio-economic backgrounds on the other.
Further aims of this study were to analyse the possible differences between motor and
sensory development of five to six year old boys and girls in poor socio-economic
circumstances, as well as to determine the possible significant relationship between the
general motor and sensory development of five to six year old children in poor socioeconomic
Fifty families were selected from three hundred families in the Thusano project by making
use of a stratified random sampling procedure. All the five to six year old children belonging
to these fifty families were selected for the purposes of this study as the QNST test can only
be used for analysis on children from the age of five years. The total group that were selected
from this poor socio-economic background consisted of twelve girls and eight boys (N= 20).
A control group was made up of children from better socio-economic backgrounds and
consisted of five girls and six boys between the ages of five and six years (N=11). The
children were all evaluated according to the "Peabody Developmental Motor Scales - 2"
(PDMS-2) to determine their motor development. The "Sensory Input Systems Screening
Test" and the "Quick Neurological Screening Test II" (QNST) were used to evaluate their
sensory development. The children with poor socio-economic circumstances were also
evaluated by means of a questionnaire to determine aspects related to the birth process,
medical history and education of the mother.
With regard to aim 1, it is apparent from the results, which were obtained by using
'Statistica', that there are significant differences in the sensory development of children from
poor socio-economic circumstances and good socio-economic circumstances when the QNST
test was taken into account. The six tests showing the significant differences in the two
groups are the two tests for tactile input ('palm shape' and 'hand-cheek'), the tests for
auditory input ('sound'), the tests for pro-prioceptive input ('arm-leg extension') and the two
tests for vestibular input ('finger-nose' and 'one leg stand'). However, no significant
difference was found between the two groups with regard to the Pyfer test. When focussing
on aim 2, the results indicated significant relationships between certain problems that are
associated with poor socio-economic circumstances and the sensory development of children.
With regard to aim 3, it is apparent from the results of t-testing (p≤ 0.05) that the motor skills
of girls are better when compared to boys. Significant differences were found in favour of
the girls with regard to the gross-motor percentile, the gross-motor grading, the total quotient
and the total motor percentile where the girls did better than the boys. With regard to the
sensory development, a t-test showed that the girls performed significantly poorer than the
boys in the test for visual tracking, while the boys performed significantly poorer than the
girls in the tests for spatial orientation ('finger-nose') and bilateral integration ('repetitive
With regard to aim 4, correlation analysis indicated that there was a relationship between
sensory, general and fine motor development in the group as a whole, while a discriminant
analysis showed that visual perception contributed most to the overall motor developmental
levels of the group. No relationship was, however, found between the gross-motor and
sensory development of the group.
These results substantiate that the motor en sensory development of children living in poor
socio-economic conditions are hampered by their environment, and that they should receive
additional attention to try to prevent deficiencies in this regard.||