Developmental Coordination Disorder
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also referred to as dyspraxia, is a motor disorder. The condition is characterized primarily by “lack of co-ordination/poor co-ordination,” “motor-difficulties/impairment,” “planning difficulties,” and “organizational difficulties” (Kirby, Davies, & Bryant, 2005, p. 124). DSM-IV-TR criteria for Developmental Coordination Disorder includes: (1) “marked impairment in the development of motor coordination,” (2) “significant interfere[nce] with academic achievement or activities of daily living,” and (3) the absence of “a general medication condition” or “Pervasive Developmental Disorder” (Lingam, Hunt, Golding, Jongmans, Emond, 2009, p. e695). Furthermore, in the presence of mental retardation, motor difficulties must be considered excessive in nature (Lingham et al., 2009, p. e695).
The neurological disorder is generally diagnosed in children aged between six and twelve years, the condition affecting boys three times more often than girls (Hamilton, 2002; Gardner, 2008). Despite the fact that DCD affects roughly 6.4 percent of children, few individuals are familiar with the condition (Hamilton, 2002). In fact, a study by Kirby, Davies, & Bryant (2005) revealed that only 54.3% of teachers and 26.7% of general practitioners could accurately define DCD (p. 124). In response, the condition will be briefly outlined here.
Attempts have been made to been further categorize CDC into subtypes. Verification evidence appears to be somewhat questionable. Nevertheless, Appleford School in Wiltshire, England issued a fact sheet listing six commonly recognized forms of developmental dyspraxia: (1) Ideomotor: difficulty executing a motor task; (2) Ideational: difficulty executing sequenced motor tasks; (3) Constructional: difficulty identifying spatial relationships; (4) Verbal: difficulty coordinating actions necessary for speech production; (5) Graphomotor: difficulty coordinating actions necessary for writing; and (6) Oculomotor: difficulty with eye movements (Gardner, 2008). Not surprisingly, a child could present a combination of the aforementioned impairments.
DCD may coincide with delays in one or more of the following areas: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and speech production (Gaines & Missiuna, 2007). Gross motor deficits may involve problems with balance, coordination, muscle strength, reaction times, and the ability to distinguish left from right. In addition, recent research suggests an association between CDC and left- or mixed- handedness (Vasconcelos, 2009). Fine motor deficits may be associated with problems using writing implements, problems using scissors, and problems performing a variety of adaptive tasks, such as feeding, dressing, and toileting (Trawick-Smith, 2010). Finally, speech production may pertain to complications during articulation, breathing, and the utilization of grammatical structures (Carlson, 2007).