The Influence of Environmental Factors on the Development of Ultra-Orthodox Preschool Boys in Israel

Anat Golos*, Miri Sarid, Michal Weill, Aviva Yochman, Naomi Weintraub

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The study objectives were: (a) to compare the prevalence of children at risk and/or with developmental delay (at risk/delayed) among the Ultra-Orthodox community with the prevalence reported in the literature and (b) to compare the performance of Ultra-Orthodox children in kindergarten versus that of children in preschool. To this end, motor, visual-motor integration and cognitive performance of 203 Ultra-Orthodox boys from low socio-economic status were assessed. We found a higher percentage of children who were at risk/delayed in gross motor and motor-cognitive skills as compared with the percentage reported in the literature. However, as opposed to expected, the results did not show that there was a higher percent of at-risk/delayed children among the kindergarten group as compared with those among the preschool group. Our findings are consistent with the research literature suggesting that children's cultural background and economic constraints can affect their motor and cognitive development. Thus, occupational therapists and other health professionals should be more culturally competent and more aware of the specific values and practices of families of children with whom they work, which can impact their development. However, in this study, it is difficult to distinguish between the influence of the cultural factors and the influence of socio-economic factors. Therefore, it is recommended to repeat this study among children from either low socio-economic status or other cultural backgrounds.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)142-151
Number of pages10
JournalOccupational Therapy International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Cultural factors and developmental skills
  • Paediatric occupational therapy


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