What Is Developmental
normally develop the ability to sit up, stand, walk, and talk at predictable
ages. When they are late in achieving these milestones, it may be due to a
developmental problem. Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is one such
a lack of coordination between your mental intentions and your ability to get
your body to carry out those intentions. For example, you might think, “I need
to tie my shoe.” However, your brain does not properly send the instructions
for shoe tying to your hands and feet. Your brain knows how to tie shoes, but
your hands just can’t follow your brain’s instructions. The same thing happens
when you try to run, jump, write, button a shirt, and many other tasks that
most people take for granted.
with DCD generally have normal intelligence. However, DCD is sometimes called
“clumsy child syndrome,” and it may cause others to think that people with this
condition are inept or unintelligent because they cannot perform basic tasks.
This condition can be considered a childhood disorder, but the effects of DCD
continue into adulthood.
What Are the Symptoms of
Developmental Coordination Disorder?
of DCD can appear soon after birth. Newborns may have trouble learning how to
suck and swallow milk. Toddlers may be slow to learn to roll over, sit, crawl,
walk, and talk.
enter school, symptoms of the disorder may become more noticeable. Symptoms of
DCD may include:
- an unsteady
going down stairs
- running into
tying shoes, putting on clothes, and other self-care activities
performing school activities such as writing, coloring, and using scissors
with DCD may become self-conscious and withdraw from sports or social
activities. However, limited exercise can lead to poor muscle tone and weight
gain. Maintaining social involvement and good physical condition is essential
for overcoming the challenges of DCD.
What Causes Developmental
causes of DCD are not well-understood, but researchers believe that it is the
result of delayed brain development. People with DCD generally have no other
medical issues that can explain the disorder. In some cases, DCD can occur with
other disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
or disorders that cause intellectual disabilities. However, these conditions
How Is Developmental
Coordination Disorder Diagnosed?
difficult to diagnose because the symptoms may be confused with those of other
conditions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V)
lists four criteria that must be met for a diagnosis of DCD:
- The child shows
delays in reaching motor milestones.
- The condition
significantly interferes with activities of daily living and/or academic
- The symptoms
begin early in the child’s life.
- Difficulties with
motor skills are not better explained by intellectual disability, visual
impairment, or brain disorders.
How Is Developmental
Coordination Disorder Treated?
treated with a long-term program of education, physical therapy, occupational
therapy, and social skills training to help you adapt to the disorder.
education can help you develop coordination, balance, and better
communication between your brain and your body. Individual sports such as
swimming or bicycling may offer better opportunities to build motor skills than
team sports. Daily exercise is essential if you have DCD, in order to train
your body and brain to work together and to reduce your risk of obesity.
therapy can help you master daily activities. Occupational therapists know
lots of techniques for helping people perform difficult tasks. Your
occupational therapist can also work with school officials to identify changes
that will help you to succeed in school, such using a computer instead of hand
What Is to Be Expected in
the Long Term?
children with DCD generally continue to experience symptoms as adults. Proper
training and education in motor skills can help you to lead a normal and
fulfilling life. Your outlook depends on how well you adapt to DCD and overcome