What is Developmental and Co-ordination Disorder?

There have been many definitions of co-ordination disorders over the years. These definitions describe a child who has difficulties in carrying out daily activities due to poor co-ordination or movement skills. These difficulties may be in playing: riding a bike, playing ball games; in daily living skills: buttoning shirts, using a knife and fork; and in schoolwork: handwriting.

The following terms are commonly used:

  • Developmental co-ordination disorder
  • Developmental Dyspraxia
  • Sensory Integrative Dysfunction
  • Clumsy Child Syndrome
  • Motor Learning Difficulties

Developmetanl Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) is becoming the accepted term to describe these children. A child diagnosed with DCD may have difficulties with praxis, sensory integration, hypermobility, clumsiness and/ or perception. A specific diagnosis of DCD is given when a child presents with the following features:

  • Marked impairment in the development of motor co-ordination
  • This impairment significantly interferes with academic performance or activities of daily living
  • The co-ordination difficulties are not due to general medical condition (e.g. cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy).
  • If mental retardation is present, the motor difficulties are in excess of those usually associated with it. (DSM, 4 1994)

A child who presents with co-ordination difficulties often has other difficulties too, such as speech and language disorders, or specific learning difficulties.

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