Understanding Developmental Coordination Disorder: Insights and Interventions

Jay Getten | Jan 8, 2024 | 6 min read


Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is more than just clumsiness. Affecting about 5-6% of children, DCD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that significantly impairs everyday motor tasks and impacts various aspects of life. This blog post delves into the multifaceted nature of DCD, exploring personal experiences, comorbidities, intervention strategies, and the importance of comprehensive understanding and support.

The Experience of Living with DCD:

Living with DCD is a unique journey for everyone. Articles from Healthline and Psychology Today highlight that DCD affects not only motor skills but also cognitive functions, leading to challenges in social interactions and learning. A Guardian article provides a personal perspective, revealing the academic struggles faced by individuals with DCD, from difficulty in understanding academic texts to challenges in expressing ideas. Furthermore, a study in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry underscores the impact of DCD on health-related quality of life, affecting physical, social, and cognitive domains.

Comorbidities and Psychological Aspects:

DCD rarely travels alone. A narrative review by Lino and Chieffo (2022) discusses the blurred lines between DCD and comorbidities such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and non-verbal learning disorder (NVLD). Additionally, a study by Omer, Jijon, and Leonard (2019) reveals a significant, moderate effect of DCD on internalizing symptoms like depression and anxiety, highlighting the need for mental health considerations in DCD interventions.

Intervention and Support Strategies:

Managing DCD effectively requires a blend of strategies. According to Healthline, therapies including occupational and speech therapies can significantly improve daily functioning. The Dyspraxia Foundation emphasizes the need for tailored support in educational settings, from individualized learning plans to assistive technologies. Lino and Chieffo's review advocates for a holistic approach in assessment and intervention, addressing not just motor skills but also psychological and social needs. Omer, Jijon, and Leonard's study further stresses the importance of routine emotional screenings for those with DCD.

Future Directions and Research:

The path forward in understanding and treating DCD involves more research. Omer, Jijon, and Leonard call for higher quality, longitudinal studies to unravel the causal relationships between DCD and internalizing symptoms. Similarly, the study by O'Dea, Coote, and Robinson suggests the need for multidisciplinary research approaches to capture the full spectrum of experiences and challenges faced by individuals with DCD.


DCD is a complex disorder that extends beyond motor skill difficulties, deeply affecting the lives of those who live with it. This post underscores the importance of awareness, comprehensive care, and interventions tailored to the unique needs of individuals with DCD. As we continue to explore and understand this condition, let's commit to supporting research and interventions that recognize the full scope of challenges and opportunities in living with DCD.

Annotated Bibliography:

  • Healthline - Dyspraxia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatments
    • This article provides a comprehensive overview of Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). It covers symptoms, causes, prevalence, and effective management strategies, including occupational and speech therapies. The article is valuable for its clear, accessible information on DCD, making it a useful resource for both individuals affected by the disorder and healthcare professionals.
  • Psychology Today - Dyspraxia
    • This source offers insights into the neurological aspects of Dyspraxia, emphasizing its impact on mental processing as well as physical coordination. It discusses the challenges faced by individuals with Dyspraxia, including difficulties in motor skills, speech, writing, and social cues. The article is significant for highlighting the emotional and behavioral impacts of Dyspraxia.
  • The Guardian - Studying with dyspraxia: 'I never truly understood an academic text'
    • This article presents a personal narrative on the challenges of living with Dyspraxia, especially in academic settings. It provides a first-person perspective on the difficulties in learning, understanding, and social interactions faced by individuals with Dyspraxia. This source is crucial for understanding the lived experience of the disorder.
  • O'Dea, Á., Coote, S., & Robinson, K. (2021). Children and young people's experiences of living with developmental coordination disorder/dyspraxia: study protocol for a qualitative evidence synthesis. HRB Open Research
    • This study protocol outlines a qualitative evidence synthesis on the experiences of children and young people with DCD. It aims to systematically review qualitative literature to understand their perspectives and inform future interventions. This source is important for its focus on capturing the voices and experiences of young individuals with DCD.
  • Lino, F., & Chieffo, D. P. R. (2022). Developmental coordination disorder and most prevalent comorbidities: A narrative review. Children
    • This narrative review explores the relationship between DCD and its common comorbidities, such as ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, and NVLD. The review emphasizes the need for a multidisciplinary approach to understand the complexity of DCD. It is a valuable resource for understanding the interconnected nature of DCD and its comorbid conditions.
  • Baskaran, S., Alagesan, J., Lal, D. V., & Rayna, A. B. (2021). Developmental coordination disorder and its impact on health-related quality of life in school children. Indian Journal of Psychiatry
    • This study assesses the impact of DCD on the health-related quality of life in Indian schoolchildren. It highlights the significant negative impact of DCD on various life domains, including motor skills and cognitive abilities. This source is crucial for understanding the broader implications of DCD on children's daily lives.
  • Omer, S., Jijon, A. M., & Leonard, H. C. (2019). Research review: Internalising symptoms in developmental coordination disorder: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
    • This systematic review and meta-analysis investigate the internalizing symptoms (depression and anxiety) associated with DCD. The study finds a significant moderate effect of DCD on these symptoms, underscoring the need for emotional screenings and comprehensive care in DCD interventions. This source is essential for understanding the psychological impact of DCD.

©2024 Behavioral Health Consulting Solutions

All rights reserved