What Is Developmental Coordination Disorder?

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What Is Developmental Coordination Disorder

To learn about developmental coordination disorder, check out this blog from Let’s Grow Pediatrics.

What Is Developmental Coordination Disorder?

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a motor skills disorder that affects five to six percent of all school-aged children. The amount of boys to girls affected by this disorder differs from group to group, ranging from a 2:1 to 5:1 ratio. DCD is characterized by a delay in the development of motor skills, or difficulty coordinating movements, which leads to the inability to perform everyday tasks.

Children with DCD may be described by their teachers or peers as “clumsy” or “awkward.” It should be noted that children with this disorder do not have an existing medical or neurological condition that is the cause of their coordination issues.

Kids with DCD generally possess normal or higher than average intelligence. Nonetheless, their motor coordination issues may influence their school performance, ability to fit in socially, and emotional growth. DCD is often linked to other developmental issues, like Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities (LD), speech-language delays, and emotional and behavioral challenges.

What Skills May Be Affected Or Delayed Because Of DCD?

Delays in motor patterns that need accuracy or proficiency are usually noticed when the child is in preschool or early elementary school. These delays will not influence basic milestones, such as sitting without support or rolling over.

Skills that can be impacted by DCD include self-care skills such as using utensils for feeding, managing buttons or zippers for getting dressed, whole body coordination where arms and legs are performing different movements (e.g. jumping jacks, skips, galloping), hand-eye coordination (e.g. catching, throwing, kicking), grading the movement (how far to throw or kick), and timing of the movement (when to catch or kick).

Other signs that a child should be tested for DCD: they may move awkwardly, seem clumsy or uncoordinated, frequently trip or drop things, have difficulty writing or printing, and require a lot of effort to do so. Additionally, they may have trouble with everyday activities such as using utensils, catching a ball, cutting with scissors, or tying their shoes. Lastly, they may avoid participating in physical or motor-based activities and find it difficult to learn and apply new motor skills.

Why Is It Important To Treat DCD?

Other motor delays can be caused by an underlying pathology, such as a neurological or genetic condition, which can make it difficult for a child to acquire new skills. These conditions can be characterized by strength deficits, low or high tone, and other visual impairments. While children with these conditions can have similar processing issues as children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), DCD does not involve any clinical losses of strength, tone issues, or visual impairments. Rather, it is often a “silent” condition that is only noticed when parents or teachers become concerned about a child’s ability to perform everyday tasks such as play and self-care.

If your child has Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), it can be tough for them and frustrating for you as you help them with tasks like tying their shoes. But the effects of DCD can be much more serious if not treated early. Here are some of the implications for your child’s development: 

  • Behavioral difficulties: If treatment is not started early, your child will become increasingly frustrated with their inability to do everyday tasks, leading to behavioral issues.

  • Decreased physical activity: Your child may avoid activities that involve the movements they struggle with, resulting in reduced physical activity and an increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular problems.

  • Poor social engagement: As your child feels awkward when trying to interact with their peers, they may withdraw from social activities, leading to decreased social performance and social anxiety.

Let’s Grow Pediatrics Is The Best Choice For Your Child

If your child is under 18 years old and has some form of injury or delays in development that is affecting their quality of life, he or she may be a good candidate for intensive physical therapy. To find out more about our treatment options and how your child can benefit from Pediatric Intensive Physical Therapy, reach out to Let’s Grow Pediatrics in Edmond, OK. Call 405-562-3485 to schedule your consultation today.

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