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Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a childhood disorder of gross and fine motor coordination. Often called clumsiness, children with this disorder may commonly trip, bump into objects while walking or running and have difficulty performing activities of daily living. DCD stems from motor learning difficulties and impairment. Motor learning refers to behavioral changes made through practice and experience with motor tasks (like handwriting or playing an instrument).

Being able to learn and master a variety of motor skills is crucial to the development and participation of children in everyday activities including self-care, sports, leisure and academics. Occupational therapists can help children improve and acquire motor skill through the use of therapeutic techniques and task specific interventions. Incorporating active problem solve is essential for improved motor planning. Research has shown that children with DCD who are encouraged to problem-solve independently maintained motor skills longer and were able to translate skills outside of therapy (Barnhart et al. 2008).

Barnhart, R.C., Davenport, M.J., Epps, S.B. & Nordquist, V.M. (2008). Developmental Coordination Disorder. Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association 88(8), 722-781.

Bo, J. & Chi-Mei, L. (2013). Motor skill learning in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34(6), 2047-2055.


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