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Development Coordination Disorder

Developmental Coordination Disorders (DCD) also know as developmental dyspraxia, are characterized as being "clumsy" or "awkward". Children with developmental coordination disorder have difficulties with motor coordination as compared to other children of the same age. These children have difficulties in mastering gross motor coordination tasks such as crawling, walking, jumping, standing on one foot, catching a ball and fine coordination task such as tying shoelaces. Some children also demonstrate expressive speech problems.

The essential feature of Developmental Coordination Disorder is a marked impairment in the development of motor coordination.

Performance in daily activities that require motor coordination is substantially below that expected given the person's chronological age and measured intelligence. This may be manifested by marked delays in achieving motor milestones (e.g., walking, crawling, sitting), dropping things, "clumsiness," poor performance in sports, or poor handwriting.

The disturbance in Criterion A significantly interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily living.

The disturbance is not due to a general medical condition (e.g., cerebral palsy, hemiplegia, or muscular dystrophy) and does not meet criteria for a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

If Mental Retardation is present, the motor difficulties are in excess of those usually associated with it.  

Group of Disorders which include:

Aspeger's Disorder
Phonological Disorder
Expressive Language Disorder
Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder

Associated Features:

Problems commonly associated with Developmental Coordination Disorder include delays in other non-motor milestones. Associated disorders may include Phonological Disorder, Expressive Language Disorder, and Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder. Prevalence of Developmental Coordination Disorder has been estimated to be as high as 6% for children in the age range of 5 -11 years. Course Recognition of Developmental Coordination Disorder usually occurs when the child first attempts such tasks as running, holding a knife and fork, buttoning clothes, or playing ball games. The course is variable. In some cases, lack of coordination continues through adolescence and adulthood.

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.

Mental Retardation.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Traumatic Brain Injury.
Mild Cerebral Palsy.
Congenital Chorea.
Decreased Visual Acuity.
Orthopedic Abnormality.


The etiology is unknown but several lines of evidence suggest that it arises as a result of some form of central nervous system pathology.


There is no known cure for PDD. Medications are used to address certain behavioral problems; therapy for children with PDD should be specialized according to the child's specific needs. Some children with PDD benefit from specialized classrooms in which the class size is small and instruction is given on a one-to-one basis. Others function well in standard special education classes or regular classes with support.

Occupational therapists, physiotherapists and receiving additional assistance at school can all help the child cope.

DSM Code

315.4 Developmental Coordinations Disorder

None Identified

Disorder Sheets

Dyspraxia Foundation
Registered Office
8 West Alley
United Kingdom
Email: Click Here

Recommended Book

Developmental Coordination Disorder - Click Here to View

Development Coordination Disorder

Misc Information


Developmental Disorder's