Developmental Coordination Disorder

What is Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (Dyspraxia)?

Developmental Coordination Disorder (also known as Dyspraxia), is the term used to describe a range of difficulties that children experience with posture, movement and coordination, without any specific medical reason for these difficulties. It is characterized by difficulties in motor coordination, with individual’s often experiencing difficulty carrying out smooth and coordinated movements. Difficulties may manifest as clumsiness (e.g. dropping or bumping into objects) as well as slowness and inaccuracy of performance of motor skills (e.g. catching an object, using scissors or riding a bike).

What are the signs and symptoms of Developmental Coordination Disorder?

Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder may take longer than other children to: sit, crawl, stand, walk, toilet train, build vocabulary or speak clearly and articulately.
In early childhood they may experience difficulty:
  • Tying shoelaces, doing up buttons and zips, using cutlery and handwriting.
  • Jumping, playing hopscotch, catching a ball, kicking a ball, hopping, and skipping.
  • Using scissors, colouring, drawing, playing jig-saw games. Concentrating.
  • Not bumping into things, falling over, and dropping things.
  • Learning new skills
In pre school they may:
  • Experience difficulty maintaining friendships
  • Hesitate in most actions or seem slow
  • Not hold a pencil with a good grip
Later on in childhood they may:
  • Avoid sports and PE
  • Learn well on a one-on-one basis, but not as well in class.
  • Experience difficulty in mathematics and writing
  • Appear badly organized and be unable to follow or remember instructions

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Developmental Co-ordination Disorder

  • The acquisition and execution of coordinated motor skills is substantially below that expected given the individual’s age and opportunity for skill learning and use.
  • Motor skill deficits significantly and persistently interfere with activities of daily living and impact on academic/school productivity, prevocational and vocational activities, play and leisure.
  • Onset of symptoms is in the early developmental period
  • Motor skill deficits are not better explained by another medical condition.