Developmental Coordination Disorder

Developmental Coordination Disorder

What is Developmental Coordination Disorder?

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia or motor apraxia, is a condition which makes acquiring new gross motor and fine motor skills very difficult. These motor challenges are present in the absence of medical, neurological, or intellectual conditions that might explain such difficulty with coordination.


What are some red flags or warning signs that my child may have Developmental Coordination Disorder?

Children with DCD may be described by their parents as overtly clumsy or having poor balance. If your child has DCD, motor planning will be hard for them. They may present with difficulties acquiring a variety of gross motor and fine motor skills including, but not limited to: postural control, writing and drawing, jumping jacks, shoe tying, climbing, cutting, catching a ball, using utensils, or bike riding.


What is motor planning?

Motor planning (also known as praxis) is a skill that allows individuals to create and execute different movement patterns. Motor planning consists of three steps: ideation (having an idea of what to do), sequencing (how to order the task), and execution (physically moving the body to complete the action). Children who have troubles with motor planning may have a hard time completing their daily routines, may not know what to do when in a gross motor environment, or may have a hard time selecting and using toys during play activities.


What should I do if I suspect my child might have Developmental Coordination Disorder?

Speak to your Pediatrician or an Occupational Therapist. Your Pediatrician can help diagnose Developmental Coordination Disorder. Occupational therapy can help your child to develop their motor skills through a variety of play and sensory based interventions. Developmental Coordination Disorder frequently exists among other conditions, most frequently ADHD, anxiety, dysgraphia, sensory processing difficulties, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.


If my child has Developmental Coordination Disorder, what will treatment look like?

Occupational therapy can help to treat DCD and other motor planning difficulties. Therapy sessions will be based on breaking down the motor skills your child is struggling with into more manageable steps. Your child’s occupational therapist can help teach them the specific skills they need to master specific fine motor skills, gross motor skills, or self-care skills.